“Right to vote cannot be violated”

A group of people from different circles of Armenian society gathered in front of the Patriarchate and demand a patriarchal election, which couldn’t have been done for 8 years. The group placed a black wreath on the door.

Yesterday, a group of people, including Ortaköy Surp Asdvadzadzin Church Foundation Chair İskender Şahingöz, Kalfayan Orphanage Foundation Chair Diana Kamparosyan, author Jaklin Çelik and dentist Tatyos Bebek, protested in front of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey. Placing a black wreath with “We want to elect our patriarch” slogan, the group went to Surp Asdvadzadzin Patriarchal Church for praying before the protest.

“We want a dignified patriarch”

Reading the press statement, Jaklin Çelik said that Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey has a 555-years-old tradition, which represents the existence and honor of an ancient nation that is more than 3000 years old. Here are the highlights of the statement:

“They are stalling us with a ‘made-up’ title which no one has heard of before. We don’t know what this ‘proxy system’ is good for.

Despite all efforts, legal entity status of our patriarchate hasn’t been given. It failed to have a legal status and a permanent legal ground. We have been dragging around with provisional applications, sloppy craftiness and impositions. Grey areas and hazy atmosphere have always been beneficial for certain people.

Our freedom of faith and right to vote are violated by meaningless excuses and we are not going to take this anymore. Armenians in Turkey didn’t and won’t resign their future to any proxy. The patriarch should be elected by popular in accordance with our ancient traditions.

We want a ‘dignified’ patriarch. And we are the ones who will choose him, like we have been doing for 555 years…”

The seat has been vacant for 8 years

After Patriarch Mesrob II was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, the seat became vacant. Then, for 2 years, it had been discussed whether there can be an election. In 2010, pursuant to a letter from the governor’s office, Archbishop Aram Ateşyan became the “Vicar General of Patriarch” within 48 hours. This was an unprecedented imposition in the 555-years-old tradition and major reactions followed it.

Ateşyan’s letter about Bundestag’s Armenian Genocide resolution was the last straw that breaks the camel's back. It is stated that such a protest against the Patriarchate hasn’t been seen at least in the last 50 years.