ISTANBUL (Ahval) — Turkey’s Armenian Patriarchate said on Friday, January 24 that the authorities’ decision to hold a tender to rent the Sanasaryan Han was unjust as the legal process over the ownership of the iconic Istanbul building was still underway, the Agos Armenian newspaper reported.
The General Directorate of Foundations said the inn was to be put out to tender on January 28 to rent it out for the next 35 years and make it a five-star hotel, in an announcement published in the Official Gazette on December 31.
The Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey said in its statement that such a move would be wrong as Turkey’s Constitutional Court had been examining the appeal of the Patriarchate about the conflict on the ownership of Sanasaryan Han.
Sanasaryan Han in the Sirkeci district is one of the oldest Armenian buildings in Istanbul. The historic building was built in 1881 thanks to Mkrtich Agha Sanasaryan in order to support the Sanasaryan School in Erzurum. Sanasaryan Han building was seized first by the Ottoman and then the Turkish Republic governments and converted into the General Security and Police Headquarters of Istanbul.
The building was put under the administration of the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul in 1920, but the Turkish state confiscated it in 1928.
The Armenian Patriarchate filed a lawsuit in 2014, asking authorities to return the building. After years of legal battle, a Turkish appeals court last year ruled to return the title deed of Sanasaryan Han to the General Directorate of Foundations.