* From the funeral ceremony of Mesrob II Mutafyan / AA
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The Armenian society of Turkey cannot elect a Patriarch for around 10 years. After the death of Armenian Patriarch of Turkey Mesrob II Mutafyan on March 17, 2019, the process to elect a new Patriarch has started.
Accordingly, the first step, namely the election of a Patriarch Sub-governor to lead the election process, was completed today (July 4). In the election held in Kumkapı, İstanbul today, Episcopos Sahak Maşlayan has been elected the Patriarch Sub-governor by a vote of 13 to 11 and a dissenting vote.
The election process of a new Armenian Patriarch of Turkey is expected to be completed in autumn the latest. However, the Armenians of Turkey are still concerned about a democratic election process.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır MP Garo Paylan has spoken to bianet about the election process after the Patriarch Sub-governor was elected today as well as their demands in the upcoming period.
‘All priests should participate in the election’
Congratulating Sahak Maşlayan, the elected Patriarch Sub-governor, Paylan has stated the following about the issue:
“First of all, I find it important that the Patriarch Sub-governor election could be held. The clerical council has elected the new patriarch sub-governor. I congratulate the new patriarch sub-governor, but his election was held in a wrong manner. All priests who were born in Turkey or whose fathers are Armenians of Turkey had the right to participate in the election today.
“Two high priests took part in the election and a wrong election was held in that sense.
“A letter should be written by the new patriarch pub-governor to all high priests all around the world who were born in Turkey or whose fathers are Armenians of Turkey and they should be called to Patriarch election.”
‘Patriarchate led by a governor for 10 years’
Stating that he has not yet received an answer to his Parliamentary question to Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu regarding the Ministry’s interference in Patriarch elections, Paylan has continued as follows:
“Now the Ministry of Interior will be informed about the Patriarch Sub-governor election and an approval process will start. We expect this approval to be granted as soon as possible.
“We demand that, for the election of a new Patriarch, the conditions of a democratic election be created with a civilian enterprising council.”
Concluding his remarks, Paylan has stated, “There is an election that cannot be held for 10 years. For 10 years, the clerical center of Armenian society has been led by an appointed trustee who was not elected. A democratic election needs to be held as soon as possible.”
Parliamentary question of Paylan not responded yet
Submitting a Parliamentary question last week, Garo Paylan asked Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu a series of questions including the following:
* On what grounds do you interfere in the date of election of Patriarch Sub-governor set by the Clerical Council of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey?
* As you may recall, a Patriarch Sub-governor election was held on February 16, 2017; however, while the clerics were still in the meeting, the election was annulled with an official letter sent by İstanbul Governorship. On what grounds and based on which regulations do your Ministry interfere in the internal affairs of Armenian Patriarchate, which is a clerical institution?
* On May 23, 2019, the Constitutional Court defined the years-long prevention of Patriarch election as “a violation of freedom of religion”. Is this interference made after this verdict a continuation of this violation?
* Based on which articles of the Regulation on Armenian Nation, which has been the legal foundation of Armenian Patriarchate and Patriarch election since 1863, does your Ministry interfere in Patriarch election?
However, the Parliamentary question of Paylan has not yet been answered. (PT/SD)