Suspect tried for ‘aggravated fraud’ against Turkey’s Armenian Patriarchate
ISTANBULA local court in Istanbul held a new hearing on Sept. 29 in a case opened upon a complaint from the leader of Turkey’s Armenian Patriarchate about a man who allegedly identified himself as a Prime Ministry inspector and then requested a bribe of 6,000 Turkish Liras.
In July, Aram Ateşyan, the acting head of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, filed the complaint against Kemal Tayfun Nargin, who identified himself as an inspector of the Prime Ministry’s General Directorate of National Estates.
At the Sept. 29 hearing at the Istanbul 16th Heavy Penal Court, Nargin denied that he identified himself as an inspector and said he was expelled from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in March 2012.
Nargin admitted that he, along with three other people, visited Ateşyan and asked for documents about the historic Sansaryan Han building in Istanbul’s Eminönü district. The building was set to be given to the Armenian community as part of the ongoing return of various properties, and Nargin said he was with the group because the other three - one of whom is a MİT official - did not speak Armenian.
He also said Ateşyan handed over the documents but denied that he had taken any money from Ateşyan. He also claimed that footage on security cameras of their meeting was deleted immediately after the meeting.
The court ruled to ask the MİT whether Nargin was employed during or before the date of the alleged crime and postponed the hearing.
Nargin is charged with “aggravated fraud” and faces up to seven years in jail.
Ateşyan alleges that the suspect arrived at the patriarch demanding a “gift” to finalize the return of the Sansaryan Han to the Armenian community. Nargin called the patriarch to arrange a meeting and had Ateşyan fill out a form bearing the Prime Ministry logo before asking for a “gift” from the religious leader.
Ateşyan said he gave him 3,000 liras, but Nargin found this amount inadequate, so Ateşyan gave a further 3,000 liras.