Turkey has been conducting extensive activity within Jerusalem’s Old City and has specifically been targeting the Armenian and Christian Quarters, reports The Jewish Press in an exclusive article.
One resident told TPS about a Turkish diplomat who proposed to the Kahabadijan family, which owns a small museum with a rare collection of thousands of photos and documents on the Armenian holocaust, to cease its activities and to avoid disseminating documentation and information.
Ilya Kahabadijan, whose grandfather survived the massacres, told TPS that it was only 40 minutes into the meeting when the diplomat tried to develop a conversation about “the loaded issue. I realized that she wanted to persuade me to cease my activity to preserve the Armenian massacre.”
Ilya emphasized that the Turkish representative did not threaten him, but added that “in any case, I showed her the way out and she understood that the Armenian community is ready to go all the way with the issue of the massacre. We will wait another 100 years, but we will not rescind our demand for compensation until we reach a payment agreement, like the one that Israel signed with Germany”.
Turkish persuasion attempts include financial grant proposals to Armenians. Property owners in the Quarter say that Turkish government representatives have recently offered several $3000 grants for various needs, but their proposals have been rejected entirely by Armenian residents, who say “these are silencing grants” designed to ensure that the Turkish government will not be sued for the 1915 – 1917 massacres.
The growing Turkish activity in Jerusalem and its support for the Muslim Brotherhood are of concern to Israel. In its recent annual intelligence assessment, the IDF Intelligence Division has, for the first time, defined Turkey as a threat.
In recent years, the influx of Turkish tourists to the Old City in Jerusalem has increased after the mosques were included in tourist routes and following the Turkish government’s participation in travel costs to Jerusalem.
the TIKA governmental agency for relief and assistance is also very active in several projects in Jerusalem. Dozens of mosques and houses have been renovated by the Turks.
TPS has referred a series of questions to the Turkish Embassy in Israel and the TIKA organization, but no replies were received until the publication of this article, although the embassy reported that the questions were received by them.