Mehmet Bekaroglu, a member of the Republican People’s Party (RPP), a major opposition force in Turkey, criticized the Minister of Culture Mehmet Ersoy for his indifference to the restoration of historic buildings.
Bekaroglu noted that a number of historical buildings have been damaged during the restoration works.
Minister Ersoy responded to Bekaroglu in a letter where he referred to the Sanasarian Han historic building seized from the Armenians in Turkey. Recently, it has been rumored that this historic Armenian building will soon be commissioned as a hotel.
Ersoy notes that the lawsuit against the Sanasarian Han real estate is ongoing and insists that this property belongs to the General Directorate for Foundations. The Turkish court had ruled for the Sanasarian Han to be returned to the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople in 2018, but the building was nonetheless nationalized. According to Ersoy, the aforementioned violations were committed by the tenant.
“According to the regional defense council, a lawsuit has already been filed four times,” the minister writes.
It should be noted that Sanasarian Han was built in Istanbul in 1881 by Armenian merchant and philanthropist from Erzurum Mkrtich Sanasarian. Originally, it has been a higher education institution.
The management of the building had been transferred to the Sanasarian Han foundation and the management of the foundation itself to the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople. After the occupation of the building by republican Turkey, the building was briefly used as the Istanbul police office and then as the main building of the economic court.
In 2018, the court ruled that the Sanasarian Han should be returned to the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople. At the first stage of the trial, the 13th court of Istanbul had rejected the Armenian community, which forced the Patriarchate to appeal to the Court of Cassation. The Patriarchate won the case, but at the request of the General Directorate for Foundations, the court decision was quashed.