Istanbul Patriarchate’s Locum Tenens Sends Letter to Erdogan

Istanbul Patriarchate Locum Tenens Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian

ISTANBUL—The Locum Tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian, on Monday sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdiogan regarding the election of a new patriarch, the process for which has been hampered by government intervention.

This follows a similar letter that Bekdjian sent to Turkey interior ministry, after continued government inaction on the matter, beginning with the governor’s office in Istanbul, which, last month, failed to provide a response to the Patriarchate, which had adhered to all deadlines set up by the government.

Bedros Sirinoglu, the chairman of the board of trustees of the Holy Savior Armenian Hospital in Istanbul, who is also a lay member of the Patriarchate governing body, and has ties with Turkey’s leadership told the Istanbul-based Agos newspaper that he discussed the Patriarchal elections with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu last week

“I asked for a speedy decision to be made regarding the patriarchal election, however Cavusoglu said the issue is being dealt by the ministry of interior. He said that the ministry will soon release a statement on this matter”, Sirinoghlu told Agos, explaining that he visited Ankara to personally congratulate Cavusoglu on his new appointment as deputy prime minister. He also said he was unable to meet with Erdogan, because the Turkish leader was in Qatar.

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