Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul Files Bribery Allegations

The Sansarian Han building in Istanbul, an historic Armenian community building that was set to be returned to the Armenian Patriarchate, now the subject of a bribery allegation

ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily)—The religious leader of Turkey’s Armenian Patriarchate has filed a complaint about a person who identified himself as a government inspector and who then requested 6,000 Turkish Liras for his service.

Archbishop Aram Ateshian, the acting head of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, filed a complaint against Kemal Tayfun Nargin, who identified himself as an inspector of the Prime Ministry’s General Directorate of National Estate.

Nargin is charged with fraud, abusing public institutions and is facing up to seven years in prison. The 36-year-old did not attend the hearing.

Ateshian, who attended Nargin’s hearing, claimed the suspect arrived at the patriarch claiming he needed a “gift” to finalize the return of the historic Sansarian Han building located in Istanbul’s Eminönü district. The building was set to be returned to the Armenian community as part of a wider program of returning minorities’ properties in Turkey.

Nargin called the patriarch to arrange a meeting; he had Ateshian fill out a form that had the Prime Ministry seal on it and then asked for “a gift” from the religious leader. Ateshian said he gave him 3,000 liras, but Nargin found the amount inadequate, so Ateshian proceeded with providing a further 3,000 liras.

After finding out that the form was fraudulent, Ateshian contacted EU Minister Egemen Bağış about the situation.

Ateshian’s lawyer Ali Elbeyoğlu, however, said the issue was dubious, since the returning of the Sansarian Han was a subject only Ateshian, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Bağış knew about.

“We did not even know about [the returning of Sansarian Han] then. One man goes to the patriarch about an issue that only three people know about, and says ‘The Han will be returned.’ This is not an issue about 3,000 or 6,000 liras. This is not a simple issue, it is a mystery,” Elbeyoğlu said.


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  1. Hagopian hagopian said:

    Just curious how and why would the “self proclaimed patriarch” engage in bribery?

  2. Pingback: The Ethical Alliance – Turkey: Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul Files Bribery Allegations

  3. Norin Radd said:

    He should have known better than this. Anything bought with bribes would have been soon undone with bribes as well. He is not a patriarch, he is an Esh, simple as that.

  4. stepan said:

    I think we should be more respectful in our expressions.
    People in that part of the world, expect and sometimes demand gifts. I am not saying it is right, but that’s how life is.
    I think such matters should I have been left to civilians in the church, to take care of.
    Again, not knowing the details, we should refrain from adjectives.
    Glad the real estate is returning to original owners
    Keep up the good work.