Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   22 March

MP Garo Paylan requests explanation from Turkey interior minister on Istanbul patriarchate interference

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 22, ARMENRESS. Ethnic Armenian MP of Turkey from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Mr. Garo Paylan has sent an inquiry to the country’s interior minister Süleyman Soylu regarding the Istanbul government’s interference and obstruction of the Armenian Patriarch election, Agos reports.

In the inquiry, the lawmaker reminded that back in 2017, before the constitutional referendum, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had vowed to the Armenian community of Turkey to deal with the patriarchal election issue.

Mr. Paylan mentioned that Patriarch Mesrop Mutafyan is incapacitated due to severe illness, which was the reason of Aram Ateshyan’s appointment as patriarchal vicar in 2010, however the appointment was against the rules of the Armenian Church.

Although Archbishop Garegin Bekchyan was elected as patriarchal locum tenens on March 15, 2017 in accordance to the constitution and all necessary procedures, the Istanbul Governor’s Office sent a letter on February 5, 2018 to the patriarchate, claiming they only acknowledge Ateshyan.

“In the case when the Armenian community was waiting for the patriarchal elections which it is entitled to, state interference in the process both ignores our church traditions and causes despair within the community”, Mr. Paylan said.

 In this context, the MP asked the interior minister on what grounds the state has interfered in the patriarchal election process.

Paylan asked what has changed after the statement of President Erdogan regarding the election, why was the process stopped, and why has the Deputy Governor used the term “so-called” when addressing the elected locum tenens.

English –translator/editor: Stepan Kocharyan

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