December 10, 2019 - 12:08 AMT
Turkey's meddling in election "may lead to end of Armenian Patriarchate"

Turkish Interior Ministry's meddling in the election of a new Armenian Patriarch may lead to the end of the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate, Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has said.

The Ministry has set the condition that candidates must be based in Turkey, sparking criticisms by many, seeing it as an interference in the spiritual functioning of the patriarchate.

The legal condition decreased the number of candidates from 12 to just two who meet the requirement. The election will therefore be between two Istanbul-based Armenian clergymen, Aram Atesyan and Sahak Mashalyan.

“This restriction may lead to the end of the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate, because we may find no candidate in the next elections,” Paylan said, according to Arab News.

Paylan considered the attempt an intervention into the Armenian community’s own religious freedoms.

“It is totally unjust. Religion requires conscience and justice,” he said. During previous patriarch elections in Turkey, many Armenian clerics from around the world could have attended.