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ANKARA: Armenian foundation retrieves former property in Istanbul

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  • ANKARA: Armenian foundation retrieves former property in Istanbul

    Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
    June 12 2011

    Armenian foundation retrieves former property in Istanbul

    Saturday, June 11, 2011
    ISTANBUL ` Hürriyet Daily News

    The Foundations Directorate General has turned over the property
    rights of a historical building in Istanbul's Topkapı neighborhood
    back to the Surp Nigo?oyos Armenian Church Foundation.

    The church foundation's president expressed his satisfaction with the
    move, but many other buildings in Topkapı were yet to be reclaimed,
    according to the administration.

    `I believe the laws passed by the Justice and Development Party [AKP,
    in 2008] concerning foundations are extremely useful. [But] I do not
    want to talk about either politics or anything else about the AKP,'
    Monik Ergan, the church foundation's president, told the Hürriyet
    Daily News.

    Another historical building, the Selamet Inn in Karaköy in Beyo?lu,
    was also handed back to the Surp Pırgiç Armenian Hospital Foundation
    earlier in 2011 following a legal battle that lasted several years.

    Unlike the Selamet Inn, however, the return of the building in Topkapı
    was accomplished without any legal hassle after the church foundation
    simply filed an appeal to the directorate general.

    `Even the reclaimed buildings will not be sufficient to [help with the
    financial] upkeep of the school and the church,' said Murat ?akan, the
    church foundation's second president.

    The foundation is in desperate financial straits, ?akan said, adding
    that many documents listing foundation property had been found in the
    church archives.

    The foundation in Topkapı, a 195-year-old institution, operates the
    Levon Vartuhan Primary School in addition to the church, Ergan said.

    Patriarch Mesrop II and other leading figures in the Armenian
    community had decided to close the school down, following an appeal by
    the foundation's former administration, but this decision was later
    overturned, said the church president.

    Turkey's Greek community decided last month to close down the Iokimian
    School in the district of Fener, the Tatavla Boys' School in Sefa
    Square in the district of ?i?li as well as the Private Arnavutköy Coed
    Greek School, which was founded in 1902. The historical schools will
    be transformed into cultural centers to provide new income for the

    `The Greek community may have shut their schools down, but we are a
    community 60,000 strong,' Ergan said, reiterating his opposition to
    closing their schools.