By Edmond Y. Azadian
A class action lawsuit brought against the Republic of Turkey, the Central Bank of Republic of Turkey and TC Ziraat Bankasi by Kabateck Brown Kellerner LLP on behalf of Garbis Davoyan and Hrayr Turabian at the United States District Court, Central District of California, was met with a variety of reactions. The Turkish media and bloggers tried to ridicule the case, while some Armenians looked upon it as an exercise in futility. However, the descendants of the Genocide victims were heartened that finally justice may be served, especially those whose families have preserved property deeds and pertinent documents. The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported the news with equanimity, fearful of the outcome of the case.
Attorneys Brian Kabateck, Mark Geragos, Berj Boyajian and Ara Jabagchourian have a distinguished record of winning class-action lawsuits and celebrity cases, and they would not put their reputation on line if the case did not have merit.
Of course, this lawsuit will present an uphill battle, because a disinherited minority will be battling the huge bureaucracy of the Turkish government.
The case may also encounter some political hurdles because Turkey knows how to manipulate these cases by interjecting fears of jeopardizing Turkish-American relations, as it happened in 2009, when Turkish Ambassador to the United States Nabi Sensoy intervened by writing to Margaret M. Marrow of the US District Court in California with regard to the New York Life suite filed by descendants of policy holders: “I am deeply concerned that the plaintiffs have asked you to sit in judgment on Turkey’s sovereign acts carried out within its territory, from which I would request that you refrain,” and adding elsewhere, “I would suggest that your use of the term ‘Armenian Genocide,’ is inappropriate.”
Of course, at that time, the Turkish intervention did not affect the New York case and a settlement was reached.