Turkish officials meet Armenian community representatives

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin met the representatives of the Turkish-Armenian community on Feb. 8 to evaluate the situation after the Istanbul Governor’s Office has canceled elections for the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, Agos reported.

Soylu said he would discuss the community’s concerns with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

The meeting follows a letter sent to the Armenian Patriarchate by Istanbul Governor’s Office. The letter said Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan is alive and the necessary conditions in the election process had not been met, which meant keeping Mutafyan in the position.

The Patriarchate sent a letter to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, in which they expressed their wish to hold an election for a new patriarch.

The move has drawn a fierce reaction from the Turkish Armenian community. The Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos said the letter was “historic” in terms of charting the relationship between the Armenian community and the state in an editorial published on Feb. 8.

“The Justice and Development Party has openly intervened in the traditions of the church and told them they cannot elect their own patriarch,” the article said.

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