By Jirair Tutunjian – Keghart.com
Earlier this year, an Israeli media outlet (TPS News) published an article titled “Turkey Working to Take over Armenian Quarters in Jerusalem’s Old City.” The report claimed Turkey was surreptiously buying Armenian real estate in the city. The Armenian Church occupies almost one-sixth of the city’s area. The story, by Israeli reporter Baruch Yedid, died quickly for it had no legs. It was exhumed in early June when Armenian Diaspora media reprinted sections of the Israeli article and expressed concern in the alleged Turkish conspiracy.
The Israeli article is a dog’s breakfast of a news report. It’s also a textbook example of how not to write a news story. Alternately, the article is Israeli intelligence agitprop aimed at Turkey.
Yedid’s reputation was tarnished late last year when he claimed Palestinian journalist Walid Mahmoud was a Hamas agent. For evidence Yedid said Mahmoud had written a positive comment on British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn’s website. Corbyn is not liked by Israel. Mahmoud says he had never posted anything on Corbyn’s site and added that while Yedid had smeared his reputation, the attack had nothing to do with him and everything to do with hurting Corbyn by “exposing” the politician’s sympathy for Hamas. Mahmoud is afraid he might be killed. Yedid hasn’t substantiated his allegation.
Yedid didn’t provide source names for his allegation against Mahmoud just as he didn’t provide names for the Armenian Jerusalem real estate story. Let’s analyze what he wrote:
“Jerusalem’s Armenian residents have told TPS about efforts of Turkish officials in recent years to persuade them to deny the Armenia holocaust perpetrated by the Turks a century ago and other actions to acquire property owned by local Christians.” Reread the nonsensical sentence which conflates two separate thoughts. Who are the Armenians? How many are they? Are they community leaders? How did the Turks proceed to persuade the Armenians? Did they meet Armenians while blowing hot air into cafe hubble-bubbles?
Yedid wrote he had talked to the grandson of an Armenian Genocide survivor. No name of the survivor or the grandson. According to the reporter, “40 minutes into a meeting with a Turkish female diplomat, she tried to convince him [the Armenian] to drop his activities for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.” Why did the diplomat invest 40 minutes with the nameless Armenian? Did the grandson exercise influence on the Armenian community? What was he doing to promote the recognition of the Armenian Genocide? Yedid isn’t much for detail. A pro would have provided some detail for verisimilitude.
Yedid continued: “Turkish professionals are also manifest in their activity to acquire Armenian assets.” To make the assertion credible he drags more no-name sources. “…the residents of the Armenian Quarter were shocked to find that one of their homes was sold to a Muslim, three times its real value.” Who were the people quoted? Who sold the house? Who to? What’s the address of the house?
“Following the incident, some of the community leaders met to review the chain of events then took action to prevent the leakage of the community’s assets to the Turks,” Yedid “explained.” Who were the community leaders? The two Armenian clubs (they represent most Armenian civilians) rarely cooperate with each other. How can they prevent someone from selling his house for three times its market value? A woman who three years ago sold the lease of her Armenian Patriarchate-owned store to an Arab still lives in the Armenian Convent…and in much-desired accommodations.
Yedid said Turks are scheming to take over all Christian properties. “One Christian trader, who asked to remain anonymous [of course] said that the Turks recently transferred to the Jordanian Waqf [Muslim endowment] very old ownership certificates…including Ottoman era documents and property ownership documents in the Armenian and Christian Quarter.” So it’s not just Armenian real estate Turks crave. There are properties owned by the Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Lutherans, Anglicans, Assyrians, Russians, Ethiopians, Copts, Chaldeans, the Poles… The churches own more than 40 percent of the city. It would be easier for Turkey to annex Syria than grab Christian real estate in Jeerusalem. Yes, Jeerusalem.
The Israeli reporter also said Turks rip Armenian Genocide posters and paint graffiti on Armenian Quarter walls. Vandalism has been a fact of life since Israel occupied the Old City. They’re usually committed by religious fanatics such as the Haredi. Perhaps the Haredim have subcontracted the vandalism to the Turks knowing full well the remarkable expertise Turks have in that specialty.
It’s hard to believe a professional journalist can make so many errors unless… unless the article is a plant by Israeli intelligence to warn Turks they are in the Israeli cross-hair for their activities among Palestinians, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, etc…
The happy-sad truth is that the Israeli government is the best “protector” of Armenian Church properties. The government has made no secret its desire to “Judaize” the city. Long before Recep Erdogan, Binali Yildirim, Yildirim Akbulut, Mesut Yilmaz, and Fuat Oktay roll their kilims and head to Jerusalem to grab Armenian and other Church lands, the Israeli government would have appropriated every inch of Christian real estate. It would be the Christian thing to do.