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Demolition Of Armenian Orphanage In Istanbul Stopped Amid Outcry

The demolition of a former Armenian orphanage in Istanbul has been reportedly halted after a public outcry and protests from activists.

Bulldozers on May 6 started to raze Kamp Armen, a former summer camp in Istanbul's Tuzla district, to make room for a luxury apartment complex.

The Milliyet newspaper reported that work had to be halted later after scores of protesters, including prominent members of Turkey's Armenian community, as well as opposition lawmakers showed up at the site.

The Armenian community says the orphanage -- where murdered Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink spent part of his childhood -- has been illegally seized by the state.

The Armenian weekly newspaper Agos, which Dink edited until he was shot dead outside his office in 2007 by a teenage ultranationalist, said five rooms and the orphanage's chapel had already been demolished.

Activists on May 7 said they would stay at the site all night to prevent any further destruction.

The camp, opened in 1963, was once home to 1,500 children.

The Turkish state seized the orphanage in 1987.

Based on reporting by Reuters and