US Lawsuit Charges Turkey's Incrilik Air Base Sits on Stolen Armenian Land
The Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, which is leased out to the United States, is among Washington's most important strategic assets, serving as a logistics and support hub for American military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places. But a lawsuit working its way through a California court alleges that the air base sits on land that was illegally taken from an Armenian family in 1923. Some background:
The lawsuit, which was filed past year against these banks and under American Armenian Alex Bakalian’s guidance, states that in 1923 the lands—in Adana, Turkey—belonging to their families were transferred to the Bank of Agriculture. On one of the 4 plots of these lands the Incirlik military base was built, which is leased to US. The lawsuit demands the value of these lands, which comprise $63 million US, and part of the income received from the lease of Incirlik, which totals $100 million.
Turkish human rights lawyer and columnist for the Today's Zaman newspaper Orhan Kemal Cengiz has written some good columns about the case recently, offering more details about the case. This column of his reprints a very interesting interview with Bakalian's lawyer, in which he lays out the legal framework for the case. In a subsequent column, Cengiz details the defense submitted by the Turkish banks being sued in the case (the Turkish governmnet itself has not submitted a defense, according to the columnist). Both columns are worth reading -- this case could prove to be a very significant one.