Surp Pırgic got its land back, but can’t use it

Agos – The land, on which Zeytinburnu Stadium is located, has been returned to Surp Pirgic Armenian Hospital Foundation, but also has turned into a green space by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

Yedikule Surp Pirgic Armenian Hospital Foundation, after continuous efforts, was able to get the old gardening zone (a land of 42.259 square meters) across the hospital back on January 22, 2014 with the decision of Foundations General Assembly. These lands include the Zeytinburnu Stadium, a sport complex belonging to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, as well as an open-air marketplace and a parking lot. After the deed of the land was returned, Zeytinburnu Municipality filed a suit against the decision of returning and lost the suit. Moreover, the municipality made some changes on the zoning plan and turned a part of the land (8000 square meters) that was registered as commerce space into green space on October 18, 2014. The changes on the zoning plan were approved during the meeting of municipal council held last week.

Surp Pirgic Armenian Hospital Foundation filed a lawsuit against the changes on zoning plan made by Zeytinburnu Municipality. Also, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality requested an opinion concerning the changes on the zoning plan from Surp Pirgic Armenian Hospital Foundation as the proprietor. The foundation delivered a negative opinion. In the letter of opinion, the foundation pointed out that the changes violate the principles of administrative law and the lawsuit is on trial. The foundation also reminded the precedent decisions of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court.

Surp Pirgic Armenian Hospital Foundation Vice President Herman Baliyan spoke to Agos about the developments: “It is true that the land in question was turned into a green space. Zeytinburnu Municipality managed to get an approval for the changes, but we will continue struggling. The case we opened is on trial in Administrative Court. We think that Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality will make it right by considering our previous applications about this change.”

This land was one of the most important properties that the Armenian community had lost because of 1936 Declaration. In the past, it was a gardening zone on which “Hampartsum” festival was held in May. In 1974, one morning, bulldozers entered the land and it was confiscated on the ground that it has no owner. After this incident, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality bought a large part of the land. Now, a sport complex, an open-air marketplace and a parking lot make up the land.

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