Uncertainty grows over election of the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul

The process of election of a new Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul is again in stalemate. October 9 was the deadline for the Turkish authorities to respond to an official application for organization of patriarchal elections, but there has been no response so far.

Locum Tenens  Karekin Bekciyan told a press conference last week that the elections would be organized, but refrained from mentioning concrete dates.

Former Patriarchal Vicar, Archbishop Aram Ateshyan says the process is in stalemate and offers ways out of the crisis.

Aram Ateshyan says elections will not take place unless the government gives its consent. He considers that the initiative group should be dissolved, as the state refuses to recognize it.

“We were to hold elections back in 2010, but the state did not recognize the initiative group. The same is happening today. There are people in the group the government would not like to see there,” Aram Ateshyan told Public Radio of Armenia. 

The Archbishop said the clergy is divided into two groups, but added, however, that “it does not mean they are enemies.” “There’s no enmity or hostility between them, but they differ on ideas.”

Archbishop Ateshyan believes the organizing committee should be dissolved and the Locum Tenens has to resign. Afterwards, he says a new Locum Tenens has to be elected and a new application submitted to the Istanbul Governor’s Office.

Sources close the Patriarchate have told Agos, that the initiative group might file a complaint to the court. Member of the group, lawyer Sebu Aslangil had said earlier that “should the state have any reservations regarding the organizing body, it should present them in a written form.”

Editor of Istanbul-based Jamanak daily Ara Gochunyan stands for finding “the golden mean.” He believes that “it’s necessary to be flexible enough not to allow the government’s intervention in internal affairs.”

“We fail to find the golden mean, because certain people are guided by personal interests,” he said.

According to reports from Istanbul, the Patriarchate is now taking time to work out a strategy for future actions.

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