PARAMUS, N.J.—On October 27, 2015 partial justice was realized in Turkey with the return of part of the grounds of “The Youth Home of Istanbul’s” Camp Armen, a summer camp in the Tuzla District of Istanbul to its rightful owner, The Armenian Evangelical Church of Gedik Pasa.
Camp Armen was home to over 1,500 Armenian orphans, gathered from the depths of Anatolia and introduced to their faith and national origin by Hrant Guzelian. It was also where Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink and his wife Rakel met, grew up and were married. The Camp was being demolished.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian recently wrote to Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey thanking him and the Turkish government for their role in the partial resolution of the seizure of Camp Armen. Mr. Khanjian urged the Prime Minister to attain total justice with the return of the whole camp grounds, legally acquired and paid for by the Protestant Church and built by the sweat of its campers.
Below is the letter that was sent to Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu.
Dear Prime Minister Davutoğlu:
On behalf of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, I am writing to congratulate you on your recent re-election as Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey. We join with your many supporters and the people of Turkey to wish you a successful and productive term in office.
I am also writing to thank you and the Turkish government for your critical help and partial resolution to return the property of Camp Armen in the Tuzla District of Istanbul to its rightful owners, the Gedik-Pasa Armenian Evangelical Church of Istanbul.
Dear Prime Minister, we have come to understand that only a segment of the Camp has been deeded to the Church, while the remaining grounds which Hrant Dink and his fellow youth converted to an “Atlantis,” remains to be deeded.
In order for justice to be complete and the Camp to be functional, we urge you to seek the return of the whole grounds, legally acquired and paid for by the Protestant Church and built by the sweat of the campers, to its rightful owners – the Armenian Protestant Church of Istanbul of Gedik-Pasa.
With the return of the whole grounds, justice will be served for this historically significant and beloved Camp where 1,500 Armenian orphans gathered from the depths of Anatolia following the war and where Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink and his wife, Rakel, met, grew up and were married. It is an important part of a very meaningful chapter in our history. Thank you in advance for your continued intervention and immediate resolution of this matter!
The Armenian Missionary Association of America, founded in 1908, is totally committed to continue helping Camp Armen with our mission of educating the Armenian children in their faith and ethnicity. The Armenian Missionary Association of America operates, funds, and supports their beautiful smiles, radiating faces, glowing confidence, and gleeful spirits. These children are our pride, our hope and our future!
May the Lord continue to bless you and your family for your leadership and courage in this beautiful but complex world we live in.