Businessman sues France, Turkish-Armenian foundations over 1915

Businessman sues France, Turkish-Armenian foundations over 1915

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

A Turkish businessperson from the southeastern province of Gaziantep has filed a lawsuit against French President Nicolas Sarkozy, four Istanbul-based Armenian foundations and other parties for gold allegedly stolen from his great grandfather in 1915.

“This suit could be perceived as a superficial one, but it is not. There are many people in waiting in Gaziantep in the event that we win the suit. Our victory will encourage them, too,” lawyer Derya Çiçek, who represents litigant Ahmet Karadağ in court, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Karadağ filed the suit for 15,000 euros in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages against Sarkozy, the French state, the French-Armenian diaspora and four Armenian foundations in Istanbul in the wake of a recent bill approved by the French Senate that criminalizes the denial of Armenian genocide claims.

The French military allegedly killed Karadağ’s great grandfather, Mustafa Karadağ, in 1915 and seized 3.5 tons of gold from him, the litigators said in the petition.

Another claim raised by the litigant party pertains to acts of torture allegedly committed against Turks by Armenian gangs and the French military between 1919 and 1920. Çiçek also said they would bring forth oral witnesses in court to speak about the historical events in question.

“There are no Armenian foundations in Gaziantep. Had there been [Armenian foundations there], we would also have [filed lawsuits] against them, as it was the Armenians who attacked the Turks,” Çiçek said when asked about why they chose to sue Armenian foundations in Istanbul for a bill that was drafted in France.

Among the foundations being sued in court is the Karagözyan Armenian Orphanage in Istanbul’s Şişli district, which provided a safe haven for hundreds of orphaned children in Anatolia during the events of 1915. The institution still continues to serve orphans and the children of families in need today.

Çiçek also said they would conduct research on the matter in the archives of the Turkish Parliament and the Turkish Historical Institute.