ASIA/TURKEY - Patriarch Sahak II denies criticism of the Armenian diaspora attributed to him by Turkish media

Saturday, 18 January 2020 middle east   oriental churches   armenian genocide   media  


Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - Sahak II Masalyan, the new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople elected on December 11, wanted to at least partially deny the critical statements towards the Armenian diaspora communities scattered all over the world that had been attributed to him by some Turkish media, in the weeks following his patriarchal election. A note from the patriarchal secretariat calls in particular the Turkish Akşam daily, and the article in that newspaper published on January 2 which reported some harsh judgments with which the new Patriarch criticized the whole Armenian diaspora in a comprehensive way, stating that the Armenian communities in diaspora have "nothing in common with the Armenians who remained in Turkey" (with an implicit reference to the memory of the Armenian Genocide, cultivated by Armenians all over the world). The Patriarchal segretariat - reports Agos, Armenian-Turkish bilingual newspaper published in Istanbul - claims that the Patriarch's statements have been reported in an inaccurate and misleading way, forcing their contents and distorting nuanced and articulated considerations with additions of interpolations to be attributed only to the editor of the Article.
Indeed, the statements attributed to the Patriarch - and published on Thursday 2 January by the Turkish nationalist Akşam daily- were fatally destined to provoke controversy. In those statements, the new Patriarch seemed to want to emphasize the distance of the Armenian patriarchate of Constantinople from the circles of the Armenian diaspora, which hands down from one generation to another the memory of the massacres suffered by the Armenians in Anatolia in 1915 as an identity factor. "We" underlined the new Patriarch "chose to stay in the country and live with the rest of the people. Diaspora is a thing of the past".
The electoral process for the choice of the new Patriarch with the election of Sahak (see Fides, 12/12/2019) was suffered and marked by controversies destined to have consequences in the future, caused at least in part by the intertwining between ecclesiastical personalities and interference from local secular systems. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 18/1/2020)