Istanbul Patriarch Presents Community Issues to Government

ISTANBUL (Marmara)–The Patriarch of Istanbul–Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan met with the governor of Istanbul Friday–and presented a series of issues affecting the Turkish-Armenian community.

The Patriarch met Wednesday with deputy prime minister Mesut Yilmaz–at the latter’s suggestion to address community related issues.

Yilmaz is the key coordinator of matters related to Turkey’s membership in the European Union. He urged the Patriarch also to address these issues with the governor.

The first of the list of the Patriarch’s concerns was the matter of a constitution for the Patriarchate–which was approved by the Turkish government in 1961 and has not been put into effect. The second matter was the concern about educating new clerics–for whom a special status for university admission was being sought–as well as the creation of an advisory council for the Patriarchate–which ceased to exist ten years ago.

Other matters included the discussion community assets. The Patriarch urged that all deeds and documen’s for assets and structures dating after 1936 must be secured–without the intervention of the courts. Furthermore–the religious leader also called for the return of all seized assets and property and the restoration of rights to own those properties.

The repeal of a condition about local elections–whereby voters and candidates must be residents of a specific neighborhood or district.

The final matter put forth by the Patriarch was the issue of government-enforced placement of Turkish vice-principals at Armenian schools. In his meetings–the Patriarch urged Turkish authorities to treat Armenian school administrators as Turkish citizens and grant all rights to them.


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