The Patriarch responded to the story of Akşam Daily which claimed that Ecumenical Patriarchate backed the coup attempt on July 15. In the written statement sent to Agos, it is said: “The editors of Akşam Daily should have known that this unfounded story, which was published with the purpose of inciting hatred against His Eminence, could lead to grave consequences.”
August 30, Akşam Daily published a story claiming that Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew is affiliated with Gulenists and backed the
coup attempt on July 15. The headline story also included some
statements which are claimed to be expressed by former United States
Ambassador to Yemen Arthur Hughes. The story has been used by other
news websites before long.
In the story, it is claimed that Hughes shared the following statement via his personal Facebook account: “Does Turkey need Greek Orthodox Patriarchate? The coup was staged by CIA, Gulen and Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.” Hughes denied these claims shortly after the story was published.
“A regrettable story”
Waiting for Hughes to respond to the claims, Ecumenical Patriarchate sent a press statement to Agos: “This unfounded story caused deep sorrow within Greek community in Turkey and especially for our Patriarch. The editors of Akşam Daily should have known that this unfounded story, which was published with the purpose of inciting hatred against His Eminence, could lead to grave consequences. We state that this story is really regrettable and dolent for us.”
“I didn't write this article”
Arthur Hughes stated that those stories are based on an article published on the website of Oriental Review on August 16 and wrote: “I can state categorically that I did not write this article.”
Hughes wrote a statement addressed to Archbishop Demetrios, the Primate of Greek Orthodox Church in America: “ I can state categorically that I did not write this article, contribute it to Oriental Review or elsewhere, nor do I have any knowledge of the statements alleged in the article. Mr. Andrey Fomin, Founding Editor of Oriental Review, has acknowledged by email that they did not verify whether I in fact had sent the article, expressed regret and removed it from their website. Despite my repeated requests to Mr. Fomin, Oriental Review has not posted a statement indicating that the article in question and my alleged authorship were indeed a fabrication. Also, as I have told Mr. Fomin, even a cursory check of my work stated on various websites would have confirmed that I have never been engaged in either Turkish or church matters. The fabric and false attribution of the article in question are of great concern to me. I have consequently conveyed these facts to all who inquired or, without proper due diligence, used the article.”
After this statement, it is revealed that this story was fabricated in order to cause troubles for the Patriarchate; however, it is still unknown who is responsible for this fabrication. On the other hand, it is also interesting that majority of national media organs in Turkey published this story, which has the potential to incite hatred against the Patriarchate, without confirming.