Thinking Platform (Düşünce Platformu) held its first public meeting concerning the patriarchal election on December 13.
Many people attended the meeting that was held for discussing the
recent developments and possible drawbacks concerning the patriarchal
election and finding a solution.
About 300 people, including CHP MP Selina Doğan, participated in the meeting, which was opened with a speech by Harut Özer. After that, lawyer Setrak Davuthan told about the legal process, which has been neglected for 8 years.
A funeral waiting to be held
Sociologist and Agos columnist Ohannes Kılıçdağı talked about why an election cannot be held and the implications of the situation. Kılıçdağı pointed out that there had been similar periods in the history, but now the society is passive more than ever.
After Kılıçdağı's speech, participants expressed their opinions concerning the election. Criticizing the clergy and the patriarchate, Garo Kaprielyan said: “Clergy doesn't not live in the church anymore. They are not devoted to religion. They see this only as a profession and earn a good deal of money. However, I don't think that they deserve it.”
Uraz Kaspar said that Armenian deputies in the parliament should bring this issue to agenda. After this remark, Selina Doğan stated that the problems of the society are on their agenda, but it is unrealistic to expect a solution from the parliament.
“We will elect our patriarch”
Members of Thinking Platform issued a joint declaration and made a statement about the election. Here are the highlights of the declaration:
“Patriarchate of Armenians of Turkey represents a 555-years-old tradition and the existence and dignity of an ancient nation that is in this land for over 3000 years. This seat is vacant since 2008, because of the unfortunate illness of our Patriarch Mesrob II. For 8 years, we haven't been able to elect our patriarch for various reasons. They tried to handle the situation with a vicar. They violated our freedom of belief and right to vote.
“And after 8 years, they said that the patriarch is retired on disability and the seat is vacant. Now, they are reluctant to start the process; we have been trying to get an appointment from the governor's office for weeks! We have no more patience left. We want to know who is afraid of an election. We have nothing to be afraid of.
“Our patriarch should be elected by a popular vote; this is the ancient tradition of our church. The election should be transparent. We want to know all the candidates and learn about their understanding of service. We just want to elect our patriarch. We just demand our political right. That's all.”