Turkish Armenians want election of Patriarch

ISTANBUL – Representatives of the Armenian community in Turkey have initiated a court case against the Turkish state to enforce elections for a new Patriarch, according to several Turkish newspapers on Thursday.

The court case is bringing to a climax a battle that started in 2008, when it became clear that Patriarch Mesrop II was no longer able to perform his duties due to dementia. The Ministry of Internal Affairs appointed a substitute Patriarch,very much against the will of the Armenians themselves. They want tohold elections to appoint a new spiritual leader in accordance with existing laws.

The position of ‘substitute patriarch’ doesn’t even exist, as a spokesperson for the Armenian Apostolic community is reported as saying in English language paper Hürriyet Daily News. ‘The ministry invented that position so they could appoint somebody of their choice.’

With the court case, the community wants to make elections still possible. A second court case must nullify the appointment of the ‘substitute patriarch’.

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