Turkey, Armenians lock horns in case

Turkey, Armenians lock horns in case

Vercihan Ziflioğlu ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey, Armenians lock horns in case

The court case invlves the property rights of Incirlik air base in Adana. DHA photo

The fourth hearing of a lawsuit filed by three Armenian-Americans in the United States for $64 million to be paid in compensation for lands allegedly expropriated by the Ottoman government during the events of 1915 was held Dec. 19.

“The court was clear all our arguments were as of this date ‘submitted’ to the court,” Jean-Pierre Dermenjian told the Hürriyet Daily News on behalf of the Yeghiayan Law Office.

The suit alleges nearly 500 hectares of land, including the American airbase in İncirlik in the southern province of Adana, were expropriated and income flows from the lands in question were transferred to Ziraat Bank and the Turkish Central Bank.

The two banks were “extensively and thoroughly” interrogated by our team, Dermenjian said. The hearing had lasted for two hours and the atmosphere was contentious, he said.

The suit was filed by Rita Mahtesyan, Anais Harutyunyan and Alex Bakalyan, all of whose families emigrated to the U.S. from Adana in the wake of the events of 1915.

Dermenjian said the defense is contending their claims to Ottoman citizenship and questioning “the subjectivity of expropriation of property through the perpetration of ‘crimes against humanity,’” as well as the issue of statute of limitations.

The Ziraat Bank and the Turkish Central Bank presented a common defense to the U.S. court while claiming their plea was not in any way binding to the Turkish Republic. “The Republic of Turkey still claims this matter is not of their concern and as such have not asked to be represented,” he said.