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Cablegate: Update On Van Hotel Case

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

270638Z Apr 05





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Update on Van Hotel Case

REF: Ankara 952

1. (U) In February, a judge dismissed Amcit Victor
Bedoian's civil case challenging the sale of his hotel
in Van (reftel). The judge has since issued her
reasoning in this case, which boils down to the finding
that the hotel manager had written authorization from
Bedoian, and was entitled to sell the property.
However, Bedoian does have the right to appeal to the
Yargitay (Supreme Court of Appeals). Bedoian claims
that the judge ignored evidence that his signature on
documents relevant to the sale had been forged. He also
alleges in a letter to the Justice Ministry that the
judge was bribed, or at a minimum, partial to the buyer
of the hotel.

2. (U) Separately, Bedoian has filed a case with the
European Court of Human Rights challenging court
decisions on his residency and operating permits. The
application claims that Bedoian's Armenian ethnic origin
was a major reason behind the denial of the permits.

3. (SBU) Econoff recently raised the case with officials
at both the Justice and Interior Ministries. In March,
Aykut Kilic, Justice's Deputy Director General for
International Law/Foreign Relations listened to our
concerns, but deferred comment until he had the
opportunity to examine the court's reasoning. Meeting
in April, Amb. Ataman Yalgin, a diplomat seconded as an
advisor to the Interior Minister and chief of the
International Relations Department, was completely
dismissive. He maintained that: this was a matter for
the courts; if Bedoian had been denied a residence
permit, he obviously must have failed to meet the legal
qualifications for one; and Bedoian's ethnic origin had
no bearing on court or executive branch decisions. When
we pointed out that disputes like this one send a strong
negative signal to any foreign company contemplating
investment or other business in Turkey, Yalgin responded
that any foreign investor who is not satisfied with
conditions here is free to leave.

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4. (SBU) Next Steps: We believe that the private
interests involved in this alleged property swindle,
combined with anti-Armenian sentiment, are likely to
block any change in the current situation for the
foreseeable future. However, we will continue to raise
our (and Turkey's) interest in a fair and transparent
resolution to this dispute, and will ask GOT
interlocutors to look into the allegation of bribery in
the civil case. We plan to cite the Bedoian case in
this year's report on investment disputes and
expropriations, as we have done for the last several

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