Camp Armen is Proof of Genocide, Says Turkish Armenian Parliament Member
ISTANBUL (Armenhaber)—During a protest organized by the Nor Zartonk youth movement on Friday demanding the return of Camp Armen to the Armenian community in Turkey, newly-elected Turkish parliament member Garo Paylan said the issue of Camp Armen is proof of the Armenian Genocide.
Speaking after the protest, Paylan, who was one of three Armenians to be elected to the Turkish parliament and represents the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) said that the fight to reclaim Camp Armen will continue.
“It has been 52 years that we have been fighting; however, we have been waiting for justice for 100 years,” said Paylan. “Those who are ignoring the crimes committed 100 years ago, those who are deferring to historians, let them look at Camp Armen.”
“Camp Armen is direct proof of the Genocide,” added Paylan. “In the way that it [the camp] was usurped by the government, it must also be returned in the same way.”
The protesters took to the streets again Friday in Istanbul’s Tuzla district demanding the return of Camp Armen to the community.
Members of the Nor Zartonk movement and Camp Armen supporters chanted slogans and held placards that said “This is just the beginning,” “Our Struggle Will Continue,” and “We are all Hrant Dink. We are all Armenians.”
Camp Armen was built in 1963 on land bought by the Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church. In 1983, the property rights of the land were taken from the Armenian community based on a 1974 Turkish high court ruling which stated that minority groups could not own property. When plans were revealed earlier this year to demolish the historic site for the construction of luxury apartments, Armenian activists staged a resistance movement to save the historic site, demanding its return to the Armenian community of Turkey.
The deed to the property has yet to be returned to the Gedikpasa Armenian Church, despite a promise by the deed holder that it would be returned.