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|Events in Turkey From 1915 Find Way to Los Angeles Federal Court
By Ashby Jones
Wall Street Journal
In recent years, most of the debate in this country concerning the events that led to the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 has
revolved around whether they should be classified as genocide on the part of Turkey.
But a lawsuit filed on Thursday in Los Angeles asks a different question: whether the heirs of the Armenians whose property was allegedly
seized should be able to recover for their losses.
The suit was filed on behalf of two men of Armenian ancestry: Garbisn Davouyan of Los Angeles and Hrayr Turabian of Queens, NY, and
seeks compensation for property allegedly seized by Armenians, along with bank deposits and property.
The lawsuit claims the government of Turkey agreed to administer the property, collect rents and sale proceeds from the seized assets
and deposit the receipts in trust accounts until the property could be restored to owners.
Instead, the government has “withheld the property and any income derived from such property,” the lawsuit said.
The defendants: the Republic of Turkey and two Turkish banks. Click here for the AP story; here for the complaint.
Undoubtedly, there are some potential difficulties to suing over activities that began about 100 years ago, namely a statute of limitations.
The plaintiffs attempt to head this off entirely, arguing in their complaint that the statute has yet to begin to run because, due to “fraudulent
concealment” on the part of the defendants, plaintiffs were unable to bring their suit until now. Plaintiffs also claim the “Defendants
misconduct is ongoing.”
The lawyers bringing the case include Brian S. Kabateck and Richard L. Kellner of the Los Angeles-based firm Kabateck, Brown & Kellner
and Mark Garagos of Las Vegas-based Geragos & Garagos.
A message left by the AP with the Turkish Consul General’s office in Los Angeles was not immediately returned. E-mails seeking
comment from both banks were not immediately returned.