YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 14, ARMENPRESS. Chancellor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem Koryun Baghdasaryan presented clarification regarding the article which was published recently in the Jewish Press titled “Turkey Working to Take Over Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City”.
“On February 13 an article titled “Turkey Working to Take Over Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City” was published in the Jewish Press where the author first of all refers to the Turkish attempt to close the museum of Ilya Kahabadijan dedicated to the Armenian Genocide. Let us state that Ilya Kahabadijan has a photography studio where he is selling the photos made by his grandfather and father and it is not a museum dedicated to the Armenian Genocide. This studio is located in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and belongs to the Greek Patriarchate of Jerusalem”, Chancellor Koryun Baghdasaryan said on Facebook.
Commenting on the point in the article which says that Turks offer grants worth 3000 USD to Armenians to remain silent, Baghdasaryan said it’s impossible to tempt the Armenians of Jerusalem with 3000 USD. “Almost all Armenians of Jerusalem live in socially good conditions, and those we are in social needs, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem has provided them with apartment, jobs and food, therefore it’s impossible to tempt the Armenians of Jerusalem with 3000 USD”, he said.
The article published in the Jewish Press also states that months ago the residents of the Armenian quarter were shocked when they revealed that one of their houses has been sold to a Muslim with three times higher price that its real cost was, and the investigation also revealed that the funds for buying the Armenian property were received from Turkey. In his clarification Koryun Baghdasaryan said no apartment in the Armenian quarter has been sold in the recent period.
“The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the owner of both the Cathedral of Saint James and all the properties in the Armenian quarter. The apartments and shops of the quarter are provided with either protected tenancy or unprotected tenancy principle”, he said, adding that the tenants are mostly Armenians. “The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem is not selling a property”, he noted.
The author of the article also wrote that one Christian trader, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that the Turks recently transferred to the Jordanian Waqf very old ownership certificates, some crumbling, including Ottoman-era documents and property ownership documents in the Armenian and Christian Quarters.
“As for the documents transferred by the Turks to the Wadf, let’s state that the right to ownership of all properties of the Armenian quarter belonging to the Cathedral cannot be appealed as they are registered under the name of the Armenian Patriarchate and the ownership documents of all properties are kept in the Patriarchate”, Baghdasaryan said.
Baghdasaryan, however, stated that in one point the author of the article was right, stating that recently a growth in visits of Turkish tourists to Jerusalem has been observed who recently tore up the posters of the Armenian Genocide from the walls of the Armenian quarter.
“The Police was immediately reported on this incident, and no such other case has been registered. Unfortunately, we should state that these posters have been on the walls for decades and have always been torn up by Jews”, he said.
The article in the Jewish Press also stated that “the growing Turkish activity in Jerusalem and its support for the Muslim Brotherhood are of concern to Israel. In its recent annual intelligence assessment, the IDF Intelligence Division has, for the first time, defined Turkey as a threat”.
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan