Education 18:30 21/08/2019 Armenia

U.S. Armenians sue Turkey to visit their native land without a passport

A unique lawsuit, not based on the Armenian Genocide, was filed on May 29, 2019, by two Armenian-Americans against the Turkish government in the United States Federal Court, Central District of California.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Barkev Ghazarian, 88, and his son Garo Ghazarian claiming “statutory elder abuse, intentional affliction of emotional distress, violation of international law, breach of fiduciary duty, and intentional interference with expectation of inheritance,” according to a 44-page complaint filed by the law firm of Kerkonian Dajani LLC.

Plaintiff Barkev Ghazarian is a United States citizen born in Kaladouran, Turkey, on April 20, 1931. He currently resides in Glendale, California. His son, Garo, born in Beirut, Lebanon, is also a United States citizen who lives in Glendale.

The complaint alleges that the Plaintiffs suffered personal injury caused by tortuous acts or omissions of the Turkish government’s employees or agents in the United States.

In the 1930’s Kaladouran was a small Armenian village in the outskirts of Kessab, present day Syria. Barkev Ghazarian was baptized as an Armenian Christian “at a sacred ceremonial site in Ballum, Turkey, in 1931,” according to the lawsuit. Ballum or Barlum is the ancient site of Greco-Roman ruins, located at a short distance from Kaladouran. For centuries local Armenians, including Barkev’s family, went on pilgrimages to Ballum to perform their religious and cultural rites.

In 1939, Kaladouran was divided between Syria and Turkey, leaving Barkev’s home on the Syrian side, while his family’s fields and lands remained on the Turkish side. Since Ballum was also left under Turkish control, the Armenians of Kaladouran could no longer practice their rituals in that locality.

On October 11, 2017, Barkev decided to go to Turkey to visit Ballum. He submitted his visa application to the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., indicating that his expected entry date would be December 23, 2017. In the visa application, under the category of “Type of passport,” he checked the box for “Other,” and under “please specify,” he wrote, Armenian Christian. Barkev also indicated that he was born in Kaladouran, Turkey, and was seeking entry “for religious pilgrimage” purposes. He intended “to pass native religious and cultural traditions to his son, Plaintiff Garo, and progeny,” according to the lawsuit.

Coincidentally, on October 8, 2017, Turkey suspended issuing visas to U.S. citizens in retaliation to a similar ban by the United States to Turkish citizens until December 28, 2017. Barkev did not possess a U.S. passport, but even if he did, Turkey would have refused to issue him an entry visa under the ban. The Turkish Embassy received Barkev’s visa application 71 days prior to his arrival in Turkey, whereas the Embassy required that such applications be submitted at least 30 days prior to his expected date of departure. Having received no response from the Turkish Embassy, Barkev sent a reminder on December 6, 2017, inquiring about the status of his visa application.

On December 11, 2017, an employee of the Turkish Embassy called the office of Barkev’s son Garo, indicating that the Embassy did not know what type of visa Barkev was requesting, even though it was clearly marked “short stay” on the visa application. In response, Barkev sent an email to the Embassy on December 18, 2017. Then on December 21, 2017, he sent a reminder to the Embassy by overnight mail. On December 22, 2017, on the same day that Barkev was supposed to fly to Turkey, the Embassy’s Consular Section sent an email to Barkev instructing him to reapply to the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles with a passport. The complaint filed by Barkev’s attorneys stated that Turkey’s representatives “harassed, agitated, confused and thwarted Barkev, intending to devalue his identity as an Armenian Christian born in Turkey.”

The lawsuit also quoted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, proclaiming: “Armenians have no rights at all in this prosperous country. The land is yours, the land belongs to the Turks. In history this land was Turkish, therefore it is Turkish and will remain Turkish forever. The land has finally been returned to its rightful owners. The Armenians and the others have no rights here at all. These blessed regions are the native lands of the true Turks.”

The lawsuit further stated that “by such proclamations, and then through a series of legislative, executive, administrative, and other official and/or unofficial acts, Defendant established the Targeted Policy at the very founding of the Republic of Turkey. The core purpose of the Targeted Policy was to strip native Armenian Christians of their rights and identities by dehumanizing, degrading, expropriating, alienating, disenfranchising, liquidating and otherwise severing Armenian Christians from their native lands and their native customs and religious practices on such lands. This Targeted Policy has been pursued, institutionalized, enhanced and adhered to by Defendant’s successive governments and agents.”

The lawsuit accused Turkey and its agents of violating the following international agreements by their mistreatment of Barkev:
— The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights;
— The United Nations Principles for Older Persons;
— The Treaty of Lausanne;
— The European Convention on Human Rights;
— International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
— Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing;
— The Madrid International Plan on Ageing;
— United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Unfortunately, Barkev’s health has deteriorated since his planned visit to Turkey in 2017 to the extent that he is no longer able to travel. This was the last chance Barkev had to visit his native land and practice his religious rites as a Christian Armenian. The Turkish government deprived Barkev of that opportunity by not granting him permission to enter Turkey.

On June 10, 2019, the U.S. Federal Court asked the Plaintiffs to show cause, in writing no later than June 28, 2019, as to why the case should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. As requested by the Court, the Plaintiffs filed a 25-page memorandum on June 28, 2019, explaining that Turkey, as a foreign Sovereign, does not have the right to violate U.S. and international humanitarian laws, particularly on American soil.

On July 11, 2019, the Federal Court decided that it would “defer a determination about its jurisdiction until after Turkey has been served and had an opportunity to provide its views on the issue.”
This lawsuit provides a unique opportunity to affirm the rights of Armenians to visit without a passport their native lands now occupied by the Turkish government!

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
www.thecaliforniacourier.com 



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

11:54
Trump orders more Iran sanctions after Saudi attack
US President Donald Trump said in a tweet Wednesday that he will step up his​ “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran by adding even...
11:41
Romania's Senate declares October 12 as Day of Armenian Language, Alphabet and Culture
Romania's upper house of parliament, the Senate, on Wednesday unanimously adopted a bill declaring October 12 as the Day of Armenian...
11:25
Global oil prices rising
Global oil prices keep growing according to the results of e-commerce, RT news agency reports. According to the source, Brent oil November...
11:05
Moscow Armenian Theater performs in Cyprus
The Moscow Armenian Theater, headed by its Director Slava Stepanyan, performed at the opening of the Second Russian Theatre Season in Cyprus on...
10:42
More plastic than fish: beach cleanup highlights Europe's plastic problem
Taking time out of the classroom to clean this Belgian beach – the task of some 1,300 young school-goers gathered here in the city of...
10:26
Bolton unloads on Trump’s foreign policy behind closed doors
John Bolton, US President Donald Trump’s fired national security adviser, harshly criticized Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday at...
20:17
Armenian, Polish architects discuss joint cooperation for restoring historical monuments
A group of Polish architects from Wroclaw were hosted on Wednesday at the “Service for the Protection of Historical Environment”...
20:17
Artsakh president holds consultation on conducting strategic military maneuvers
Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan convened on Wednesday a working consultation on the issues of conducting strategic military maneuvers...
19:50
VivaCell-MTS and “Synopsys Armenia” support the European University in giving students opportunities to strengthen their practical skills
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed today between Armenia’s leading telecommunications operator VivaCell-MTS, “Synopsys...
19:27
Prime Minister holds farewell meeting with outgoing UK Ambassador
The Premier highly appreciated Judith Farnworth’s activities and thanked her for tenure-long efforts aimed at developing the...
19:23
India proposes ban on e-cigarettes and three-year jail term for repeat offenders
India has initiated new legislation banning the production, manufacturing, import, export, sale, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes...
18:13
Valery Osipyan appointed senior aide to PM Pashiyan
Armenian Police Chief Valery Osipyan who was relieved from office on Wednesday has been appointed senior aide to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol...
17:31
World Boxing Championship: Hovhannes Bachkov reaches semifinals
Armenian boxer Hovhannes Bachkov competing in the 63 weight category has qualified for the semifinals at the World Boxing Championship in...
16:26
Davit Tonoyan on Zakir Hasanov’s statement: ‘There's no harm in dreaming’
“I believe there's no harm in dreaming,” Armenia’s Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan told reporters at the National Assembly...
16:02
Armenia’s ex-police chief charged with abuse of power
Charges have been brought against Armenia's former Chief of Police Vladimir Gasparyan as part of a criminal probe into abuse of power...
15:17
9 athletes to represent Armenia at World Weightlifting Championships
Nine athletes will represent Armenian at the World Weightlifting Championships in Pattaya, Thailand from 18 to 27 September. The Armenian...
14:56
OSCE monitoring of Artsakh-Azerbaijan contact line passes as scheduled
In accordance with the arrangement reached with the authorities of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh Republic), the OSCE mission on...
14:50
‘No painful surprises expected’: Defense minister on possible military dismissals
Armenian Defense Minister David Tonoyan denies allegations about the dismissals of high-ranking officers of the Defense Ministry. The...
14:11
Artsakh president chairs government meeting
Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the government. While discussing the questions on the agenda, the...
14:07
Armenian president signs decree to sack police chief
President Armenian Sarkissian has signed a decree to dismiss Valeriy Osipyan as Chief of the Armenian Police. The president signed the...
13:56
Armenia to host US congressional delegation
A delegation of the US Congress, including both Republican and Democrat congressmen, are set to pay a one-week visit to Armenia on 1 October to...
12:58
European Parliament backs France's Lagarde as next ECB chief
France's Christine Lagarde secured the backing of the European Parliament to become the next president of the European Central Bank...
12:52
Armenian correctional facility head arrested on suspicion of bribery
Lyova Baghdasaryan, the head of the Kosh Penitentiary Institution, has been arrested, the information department of the correction facility...
12:37
Armenian defense minister refutes rumors about his possible resignation
Armenian Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan on Wednesday dismissed rumors that he is going to submit resignation. “There is no such...
11:58
France to give more people iodine tablets after expanding nuclear security cordon
France will give out free iodine tablets to around 2.2 million people living close to nuclear plants to help protect them from radiation in case...
11:56
Artur Aleksanyan thanks all for support, promises new victories
Armenian Greco-Roman wrestler, four-time European, three-time world and Olympic champion Artur Aleksanyan expressed gratitude to everyone for...
11:24
Parliament hopes for Belarus' PACE special guest status restoration
The Belarusian parliament may have its special guest status at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in the nearest future,...
11:16
Armenia marks Astronomy Day
18 September, the birthday of famous Armenian scientist Victor Ambartsumian, is marked as Astronomy Day in Armenia. Astronomy Day was designated...
10:47
Car plows into lobby of Trump Plaza in New Rochelle
A car plowed into the lobby of Trump Plaza in New Rochelle Tuesday night, injuring two pedestrians, New York Post reported, citing police....
10:36
Stepanakert and Australia's Ryde are twin cities
Stepanakert City Council of Elders adopted a decision to declare the Australian City of Ryde as a twin city, the Artsakh Foreign Ministry said...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}