A U.S. court rejected an Armenian diaspora's demands of compensation and land from Turkey regarding the 1915 events, putting an end to the nine-year-long court process.
Two separate compensation cases, one of which was filed by U.S.-based Armenians Garbis Davoyan and Hrayr Turabian on July 29, 2010 and the other by Alex Bakalian, Anais Haroutunian and Rita Mahdessian on Dec. 10, 2010 at the California State District Administrative Court against the Turkish state, its central bank and Ziraat Bank, have been rejected during the appeal process by the court.
The claims of the Armenian-origin U.S. citizens were that their family properties were confiscated during the 1915 events, which provided unfair profit to the state treasury and banks. The families, with such claims, were demanding recovery for their sufferings through compensation. In response to these claims, Turkish banks defended themselves through the principle of sovereign immunity. During the defense, it was highlighted that in accordance with 1976 dated "Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act" of U.S. law that there cannot be any judgement.
The complainant, on the other hand, claimed that this act's exceptional decrees regarding the institutionalization and commercial activities should be applied, which would enable the foreign state and banks to be judged.
On March 26, 2013, the court reached a decision, saying that the claims cannot be involved in judgement and is a political matter in terms of its nature. However, this decision that favors Turkey did not stop the Armenian diaspora. The lawyers of the Armenians went for an appeal on April 2013. At this point, the court decided to combine the two cases. After nine years of trials, the court finally ruled in favor of Turkey.
On Aug. 8, 2019, the court rejected the Armenians' appeal with the reasoning that it lapsed, which approved the first-degree court's decision.
The appeal court also based its decision on the first degree court's "lapse" reasoning rather than the "political matter" doctrine, which strengthened Turkey's hand even more. The appeal court also expressed that the complainants are not the real victims in this issue since their ancestors, who lived through the 1915 events, have moved to the U.S. decades ago.
As a result, the court denied the case unanimously without even launching any investigation regarding the claims. Although the Armenians had the chance to demand a renewal of the appeal process on Aug. 22, 2019, they have not done so. Experts expressed that the complainants still have the opportunity to bring the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, however, it would be hard for them to get different results.
Evaluating the process for Anadolu Agency (AA), diplomatic sources underlined that the decades-long dreams of some Armenian communities have fallen lat through this decision, calling the judgement a "milestone."
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