Western Prelate Responds to Ricciardone’s Statement

Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian

LA CRESCENTA—Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian on Monday responded to statements made Friday by US Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone in response to questions stemming from his Senate confirmation hearing.

“Most of the Christian churches functioning prior to 1915 are still operating as churches. Some churches of significance operate as museums. The remaining have fallen into disrepair or were converted to mosques for lack of use,” said Riccardone. This was in response to a query by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) who asked about how many of the more than 2,000 pre-1915 churches were functioning today in Turkey.

Below is Archbishop Mardirossian’s statement:

Western Prelate’s Response To Ambassador Ricciardone’s Statement On Christian Churches In Turkey

Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, President Obama’s “recess” appointee to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, has, very regrettably, made a patently incorrect and deeply painful claim that “most of the Christian churches functioning [on the territory of present-day Turkey] prior to 1915 are still operating as churches.”

Whether unintentional and out of ignorance or premeditated and deliberate, this blatantly false assertion by the representative of the United States to the Republic of Turkey is absolutely unacceptable.

Rather than unapologetically affirming the truth and – in the best of the American tradition – defending religious freedom against all threats, Ambassador Ricciardone’s statement simply serves to advance the Turkish government’s campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide.

The presence of an Ambassador in Ankara who is unaware of or uninterested in the truth and the consequences of the Ottoman and Republican Turkish government’s genocide of Armenians, Assyrians, Syriacs, Greeks and other Christians materially undermines U.S. interests, compromises American values, and weakens international efforts to defend religious freedom for peoples of all faiths. Sadly, but unmistakably, with this hateful and hurtful statement, Ambassador Ricciardone has demonstrated that he is not the right candidate to effectively and responsibly represent the United States in Turkey.

Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian


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  1. ARA said:

    Hey- what else is new? Maybe the ambassador has a private stipend from the turks too! of course- he is patting their back- he is ignorant or lying about the status-I have seen them-the remaining ones have been under watch somewhat-satelite or people/groups and many were dismantled per order so the offenders could build homes or shacks and outhouses out of our former churches. OF course the few that remain are in disrepair-the turks and by oirder the kurds decimated our people -we did not just leave-come on now- the strategic physical place of the turks and turkey as seen today-will never be ignored unless we get our lands and cities back the way it was and should be-Christian and Armenia.

  2. Shahe said:

    US social system is based on offering to select through democratic principles of freedom of choice. International orders are manipulated just as companies whence the stock exchange market. I have utmost respect for those who base their lives on moral principles and human values, such as highly respectable J. Welch, rather than unregulated principles. Bottom line: Right is not might rather might is right. Follow the Karapagh strategy for Nakhichevan next.