Land Owner to Donate Camp Armen to Armenian Protestant Church Foundation

The owner of the land of the Armenian Children’s Camp, which has been at the center of ongoing controversy with activists attempting to prevent a planned demolition of the former orphanage, has announced that he will be donating it to the Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church Foundation, Turkish Evrensel newspaper reports.

“I respectfully announce to the public that I will be donating the land to the Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church Foundation… with the hopes of contributing to social harmony and unity of our country in line with our Armenian citizens thoughts and wishes,” announced Fatih Ulusoy, who owns the land where the former orphanage is located, in a written statement published Saturday.
Ulusoy noted that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s request that the issue be resolved had been relayed to him through the efforts of Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas, ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Istanbul Chair Selim Temurci and Tuzla District Mayor Sadi Yazici. He added that when he purchased the deed to the land back in 2006 there had been no mention or information regarding there being an orphanage on the land, and also that he was personally upset by some of the speculations that had arisen around the issue.

Camp Armen Armenian orphanage was confiscated by the Turkish authorities back in 1987. Subsequently, it was sold to a Turkish businessman who, in turn, decided to demolish the orphanage and build luxury homes in the premises. As a result of public pressure, however, the demolition of the orphanage has been temporarily halted.

The camp was once home to around 1,500 children, including the late Hrant Dink—the founder and chief editor of Agos Armenian bilingual weekly of Istanbul, and who was shot dead on January 19, 2007 outside the office of his weekly—, and his wife Rakel.