In response to recent news of the partial demolition of Camp Armen in the Tuzla district near Istanbul, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) has written to the Turkish president, prime minister, and the United States ambassador of the Republic of Turkey asking for their intervention and support, the Armenian Weekly reports.
During the partial demolition of the camp in early May, a group of Armenians from Turkey, including some of the former students of the Youth Home of Istanbul who grew up in Camp Armen, rushed to the site and kept guard day and night, thus halting further demolition of the camp.
Among those who went to the camp as a child was Rakel Dink, the widow of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink.
In the letters, Zaven Khanjian, the executive director/CEO of the AMAA, asked the Turkish leaders to strongly consider intervening to avoid the further demolition of this historically significant and beloved camp, and to secure the return of the property to its rightful owner—the Armenian Evangelical Church of Gedik Pasa in Istanbul.
“We are imploring the help of the Turkish leaders in this matter,” said Khanjian. “Camp Armen was home to over 1,500 Armenian orphans who were gathered from the depths of Anatolia, and was where Hrant and Rakel Dink met, grew up, and were married. The camp was a labor of love for the orphans and it became their ‘Atlantis’ civilization. It is an important part of a very meaningful chapter in our Armenian history, and one which we do not want to lose. We pray that God will grant us all a peaceful resolution of this legal struggle.”
The AMAA calls upon other Armenian churches and organizations to raise their voices and send similar letters and requests to the leaders of the Turkish government.