Suspect tried for ‘aggravated fraud’ against Turkey’s Armenian Patriarchate

A local court in Istanbul held a new hearing on Sept. 29 in a case opened upon a complaint from the leader of Turkey’s Armenian Patriarchate about a man who allegedly identified himself as a Prime Ministry inspector and then requested a bribe of 6,000 Turkish Liras, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

In July, Aram Atesyan, the acting head of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, filed the complaint against Kemal Tayfun Nargin, who identified himself as an inspector of the Prime Ministry’s General Directorate of National Estates.

At the Sept. 29 hearing at the Istanbul 16th Heavy Penal Court, Nargin denied that he identified himself as an inspector and said he was expelled from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in March 2012.

Nargin admitted that he, along with three other people, visited Atesyan and asked for documents about the historic Sansaryan Han building in Istanbul’s Eminönü district. The building was set to be given to the Armenian community as part of the ongoing return of various properties, and Nargin said he was with the group because the other three – one of whom is a MIT official – did not speak Armenian.

He also said Atesyan handed over the documents but denied that he had taken any money from Atesyan. He also claimed that footage on security cameras of their meeting was deleted immediately after the meeting.

The court ruled to ask the MIT whether Nargin was employed during or before the date of the alleged crime and postponed the hearing.

Nargin is charged with “aggravated fraud” and faces up to seven years in jail.

Atesyan alleges that the suspect arrived at the patriarch demanding a “gift” to finalize the return of the Sansaryan Han to the Armenian community. Nargin called the patriarch to arrange a meeting and had Atesyan fill out a form bearing the Prime Ministry logo before asking for a “gift” from the religious leader.

Atesyan said he gave him 3,000 liras, but Nargin found this amount inadequate, so Ateşyan gave a further 3,000 liras.

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