ASIA/TURKEY - Interference and pressure in the election process of the new Armenian Patriarch

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 oriental churches   religious minorities   middle east  


Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) – In early October Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian, current "locum tenens" of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent a letter to possible candidates for the role of new Patriarch, in the framework of the election process underway, to choose the successor of Mesrob II Mutafyan (a young and enterprising Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople who fell ill in 2008). The potential candidates for the patriarchal role have to be born in Turkey or in any case belong to a family of Turkish nationality. Only 11 patriarchal clergy members respond to this selective criterion.
Meanwhile, there are episodes that suggest a tacit boycott of Turkish institutions over the patriarchal election process in progress.
The last sign in this regard comes from the statements by Bedros Şirinoğlu, President of the Armenian Hospital Foundation Surp Pırgiç: According to Şirinoğlu - who does not hide his high level contacts in national institutions – the Turkish apparatus do not like the fact that the electoral process as "locum tenens" of the Armenian Patriarchate is handled by Archbishop Bekdjian. Bekdjian himself replied to Şirinoğlu's statements that he had not received any official mistrust on behalf of the Turkish institutions. Although it is confirmed that the official letters sent by the Armenian Patriarchate to the Turkish authorities to urge the reopening of Patriarch's election procedures have not yet been answered. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 17/10/2017)