ANKARA (Anatolia News Agency)—Armenians cannot demand compensation from Turkey for property they lost during the end of the Ottoman period, the head of the Turkish Historical Society has said, arguing that the matter was closed in the 1930s.
The matter of compensation ended after the payment of $900,000 by Turkey in 1934 as a result of an agreement signed by Turkey and the United States, Professor Kemal Cicek, head of the Armenian Studies Desk at the Turkish Historical Society, told Anatolia news agency on Monday.
Regarding claims that buildings like the Cankaya Presidential Palace and the Erzurum Congress Building were Armenian properties, Cicek said: “Documents on the history of the buildings can be found in the archives of the Cankaya Palace. The issue has ended for us.”
Concerning compensation suits filed by two Armenians living in the United States, Cicek said they had documents obtained from Turkish and American archives.
“These suits don’t have legal validity,” he said. “Because according to my research, commissions were established in the United States and Turkey on the compensation demands of Armenians during the period between the Treaty of Lausanne [in 1923] and 1937. The commissions put an end to these demands under an international agreement.”
Commenting on the statements that the records of the properties that were seized from the Armenians were lost, Cicek said: “The Armenians that left had their properties recorded and it was required to send a copy of these records to the center. We cannot know whether they were sent or not during times of war. Some of these records may be at revenue offices or at the depots of provinces or townships. This requires extensive research.”
“However, these records are not, as claimed, in the Ottoman archives” stated Cicek.
“There is no secrecy and no reason to keep these records secret. Considering that this issue was closed with the Treaty of Lausanne and the compensation agreement, there is no reason to keep these records secret,” he said. “These may have been damaged during the war, like many other documents. Their surfacing would not be disadvantageous to Turkey, as some claim.”