TBILISI—A Georgian businessman who was awarded four rooms of a seven-room house belonging to legendary Armenian writer Hovaness Toumanian is now looking to sell the property, prompting the Armenian government to send a delegation to look into the matter, reported Hetq.am
Archil Lezhav, the son of a wealthy Georgian businessman, has said he will sell the place to a Georgian-Turkish joint venture company called GeoTuran in order to pay for his father’s medical bills.
A few weeks ago the Union of Armenians in Tbilisi sounded the alarm by issuing an announcement.
“The historical building was transferred to a businessman back in the 90s. The businessman put the apartment on sale, and the ‘GeoTuran’ Turkish-Georgian joint venture is going to purchase the apartment to turn it into a hostel for Turkish workers. Company’s management has even asked poet’s great-grandchild Alina Tumanyan, who lives in the second part of the building, to sell her territory also, but she refused to,” the statement said.
At a press conference Wednesday in Yerevan, Irma Safrazbekyan, one of Toumanian’s granddaughters complained about the fact that Armenia did not purchase the home when it had the chance.
“My husband and I met with Lezhav senior in 2004. He was a pleasant man and said that he knew of Hovannes Tumanian and felt it improper to change anything in the apartment. He offered to sell the place for $25,000. At the time, the Armenian government argued it didn’t have the money,” Safrazbekyan told reporters, according to Hetq.am.
The looming sale has prompted the Armenian government to send a delegation, headed by the chairman of the Armenian Writers’ Union, Levon Ananyan, to Tbilisi to negotiate with Lezhav’s son.
Ananyan said that the market price for the 120 square meter apartment is around $70,000.
According to Hetq.am, on Tuesday, employees of Georgia Touran visited Alyona Tumanyan, the poet’s great-granddaughter who owns the other three rooms and proposed that she sell them to the company as well. She refused.
Alyona Tumanian told Irma Safrazbekyan that she would only sell the three rooms if Lezhava agreed to transfer his four rooms to the Armenian community as a cultural center.
Writer and literature expert Hovik Charkhchyan told reporters that he wasn’t hopeful of a positive outcome from the delegation’s visit.
“The bitter experience of the past leads one to believe that we will lose the Tumanian home for good. It won’t matter who purchased it or for what purpose,” he said as reported by Hetq.am.