A recent book published by the Hrant Dink Foundation has revealed that almost half of the properties belonging to 53 different Armenian foundations have been confiscated since 1923.
“2012 Beyannamesi: Istanbul Ermeni Vakıflarının El Konulan Mülkleri” (The 2012 Declaration: The Seized Properties of Armenian Foundations in Istanbul) provides data on all the proprties of the Armenian foundations confiscated since 1923.
According to the information provided, 53 Armenian foundations in Istanbul were found to have 1,328 immovable properties. Some 661 of these properties were confiscated, while the fate of another 87 is still unknown. With legal amendments, 143 of the 661 confiscated properties have been returned over the last 10 years.
One of the confiscated properties is the Kalfayan Orphanage located in Istanbul’s Halıcıoğlu district. It was confiscated on the grounds that access roads would be built on its land during the construction of the intercontinental Bosphorus Bridge. The E5 Highway now occupies this land.
Another confiscated foundation is the Surp (Saint) Hagop Armenian Church Foundation located in Istanbul’s Kasımpaşa district. Its ownership was passed to the Foundations Directorate General, after which an apartment block was built on the remains of the historic church walls. A number of shanty houses now occupy a part of the original foundation’s land, for which the Foundations Directorate General pays rent.
The 479-page new book, which opens with an introduction by Professor Hüseyin Hatemi, covers a detailed list of confiscated properties, as well as historical information and photos of the foundation properties.