Land title of Armenian orphanage Kamp Armen in Istanbul returned

Land title of Armenian orphanage Kamp Armen in Istanbul returned

Land title of Armenian orphanage Kamp Armen in Istanbul returned

DHA photo

The land title of the iconic Armenian orphanage Kamp Armen has been given back to an Armenian protestant church foundation, daily Agos has reported.

The process of returning the real estate deed for Kamp Armen, located in the Tuzla district of Istanbul, has been completed, the lawyer of Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church Foundation Sebu Aslangil has announced.

Fatih Ulusoy, the land owner, had initially tried to demolish Kamp Armen in May but later the controversial plan was shelved as Ulusoy said he would donate it to the Armenian community. 

The demolition efforts, which began on May 6, received widespread attention once the news broke on social media. Later that day, the demolition was stopped when many people, including activists and leading figures from the Armenian community, rushed to the area to protest the demolition work.

The protesters, along with Nor Zartonk, a non-governmental Armenian initiative, and Kamp Armen Solidarity group, held a vigil for days to halt the camp’s demolition.

The Turkish state expropriated Kamp Armen in 1987, following the 1980 military coup, based on a 1936 bill preventing minority foundations from acquiring property. 

Although the Turkish government signed a historic decree in 2011 to return property taken away from minority foundations, the camp was left out, along with hundreds of other properties.

However, the process of returning the land title began with the help of initiatives of Armenian civil societies and politicians, as well as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Built in 1962 by the Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church, Kamp Armen had hosted a number of children, including the slain journalist Hrank Dink and his wife Rakel Dink, from various parts of Anatolia over the years.