Fire destroys parts of Greek hospital in Istanbul
A fire that started in the Balikli Greek Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, on Thursday caused great panic as it quickly engulfed the roof, and could be taken under control hours later only through joint efforts of several firefighter teams.
More than 100 patients, 62 of them older adults, were evacuated to be transferred to other hospitals, and there were no casualties reported, Istanbul's Governor said.
He noted that the cause of the fire was not known yet and investigation will identify the cause.
Ekrem Imamoglu, Mayor of Istanbul, said that the wooden parts of the 130-year-old building received most of the damage.
About Balikli Greek Hospital
Balikli Greek Hospital was built in 1753 with the financial support of the Union of Greek Grocers. After it was destroyed in a fire in 1790, it was rebuilt in 1793 under the sponsorship of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The hospital has always been open to all patients regardless of ethnic origin and religious beliefs.
During the Istanbul pogrom on 6-7 September 1955 that targeted non-Muslims and which resulted in many deaths and injuries, the hospital received large numbers of patients who suffered from trauma, rape, and physical abuse.
While the pogrom greatly diminished the Greek community in Istanbul and as the tensions between Greece and Turkey continued to rise over Cyprus, the properties of the hospital was seized by the Turkish Treasury in late 1960s.
It was after August 2002, when a new legislation was enacted in the context of Turkey's EU candidacy to protect the minority rights, that Turkish Treasury was prevented from further seizing community foundations' properties.