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Another Armenian Foundation in Istanbul Challenged by the Authorities

Another Terrible Disappointment

Translated from Armenian for ANN/Groong

Print version of Marmara (http://www.normarmara.com/)

6 June 2003, Istanbul

The General Directorate of Foundations Dissolved the Administration
of Karagozian

The Administration has been punished and is considered dissolved for
the reason that it did not have the right to rent the land of a Car
Park, whereas that land has been rented for decades.

After the lawsuit brought by the Direction of the State Treasury
in order to seize the properties of the Saint Cross Tbrevanq,
the community was shaken yesterday by another news. The General
Directorate of Foundations decided to dissolve the Administration of
Karagozian without opening a preliminary inquiry, without questioning
the administrators and on the 4th of July remitted a copy of its
decision dated 7th May to the Administration. According to this
decision, Dikran Gulmezgil, Nsan Kara, Misak Panosoglu, Arman Polad,
Selma Oziskender, Dede Ozgul, Vartavar Santalu, Karun Kovan, and
Roy Kucukates are declared dismissed. This decision of the General
Directorate of Foundations is based on the allegation that the land
of the car park rented to a new tenant by Karagozian is “hayrat”,
that is, it is a land donated for being used for benevolent purposes,
therefore it is impossible to rent it. Whereas that land was rented and
it has been a bone of contention between various persons who wanted to
rent it for a long time. The Administration is also accused of having
built a few constructions such as a toilet, etc. without permission
on the above mentioned land.

The news is shocking and extremely painful, because that decision
comes to cast once again the doubt that we were absolutely wrong when
we thought that during this government certain reforms were going
to take place to heal the pains of community foundations which have
been lasting for decades. The law authorizing community foundations
to acquire new properties, which had given us so much hope and lead
us to think that, what was the most unfair application of the law to
minority foundations would henceforth be corrected, did not provide any
practical result so far and we are afraid that the current situation
will persist. There is a law which is not applied, because all sorts
of difficulties are created so that that law is not applied.These
doubts about the new law on property ownership continued when the
decision of the State to cancel the “foundation” character of Saint
Cross Tbrevanq and to seize its properties, came. The community that
was preparing itself to endow its establishments with new properties,
is now facing the danger of losing other very important properties. The
lawsuit about that matter was under way, when a new decision about
the Administration of Karagozian was received. In reality, what is
hidden behind the decision of declaring the Administration dissolved?

The head of the Administration Mr. Dikran Gulmezgil called us
yesterday by phone when the yesterday’s issue of our newspaper was
already published. He communicated us the news with a feeling of deep
revolt and expressed us his concerns regarding that unfair intervention
against them. He pointed out that the allegation of the Directorate of
Foundations that the car park land is “Hayrat” is not convincing at all
and that it is impossible to rent it. that allegation is not convincing
because the land of that car park has been rented for decades with the
knowledge and approval of the authorities. The entire question resides
in the fact that the current Administration succeeded in changing
the tenant, facing serious difficulties. The Administration headed
by Dikran Gulmezgil which was elected three years ago had complaints
about the former tenant, therefore it canceled the agreement signed
with him and signed a new agreement with another tenant with better
conditions. That was not an easily solvable issue and with no doubt
the Administration suffered a lot until it completed that work. But
some circles were certainly unpleased by that change of tenant,
especially that this land had been a bone of contention between the
Administration on one side, and the new tenants who wanted to rent it,
and the former tenant who wanted to keep it at any price.

What is amazing is that, before taking such a decision the Directorate
of Foundations has not adressed any warning, did not question the
administrators by inviting them, did not ask their viewpoint and
request information from them.

Mr. Dikran Gulmezgil is very concerned about future developments. He told us he is amazed by the manner State circles can ignore the
destiny of hundreds of pupils studying in Karagozian. Anyway, the
Administration will object to the decision and by inquiring at the
relevant authorities, it will ask the suspension of its application.

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