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THE HICCUPS TOWARDS ACCEPTANCE AND THE WILL TO BUILD A STRONG PLURAL TURKEY

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew03

ASSASSINATION PLOT AGAINST PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW UNCOVERED

An alleged plot against Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Bartholomew is being investigated by an Ankara public prosecutor, private broadcaster NTV reported today.

The investigation was launched after a letter was sent from the Central Anatolia province of Kayseri, claiming that the Istanbul-based patriarch would be the target of an assassination attempt on May 29, the 560th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest by Mehmed the Conqueror.

A man was detained and police forces are searching for two others. The suspects recently arrived in Istanbul from Kayseri, police sources said.

S.A., the detained suspect, refuted the claims and said he was in Istanbul to visit his relatives and he had no intention or plan of murdering Bartholomew.

A file opened by a Kayseri prosecutor has been handed over to the Ankara public prosecutor.

The investigation revealed that another letter was sent to prosecutors in 2008 claiming that S.A. was planning to murder Bartholomew.

Hürriyet Daily News – May/10/2013

 

PLOT TO KILL ORTHODOX PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW UNCOVERED BY TURKEY

ISTANBUL, May 10 (Reuters) – Turkey is investigating an alleged plot to assassinate Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, and has stepped up security around the patriarchate in Istanbul, his spokesman said on Friday.

Spokesman Dositheos Anagnostopoulos said the patriarch had not received any direct threats but had learned of the alleged plot from Turkish media, which was later confirmed to the patriarchate by Turkish police.

“Later in the day, police informed the patriarchate of a possible threat and dispatched additional police officers,” Anagnostopoulos said.

Turkish broadcaster NTV said one man had been arrested in relation to the alleged plot, after state prosecutors in central Kayseri province received an anonymous letter saying there was a plan to assasinate Bartholomew on May 29, the anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of present-day Istanbul.

It said police were still searching for two men in relation to the alleged plot.

The Ankara chief public prosecutor’s office, which local media said is leading the investigation, could not be immediately reached for comment.

There has been at least one previous assassination plot against Bartholomew in recent years but the patriarchate sought to play down Friday’s reports.

“The patriarch is not taking this too seriously. He doesn’t believe there is a serious threat,” Anagnostopoulos said.

Known often by his full title Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the historical name for Istanbul, he is the spiritual head of worldwide Orthodoxy, which split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1054. [Mode of Life Comment: This sentence evidently shows complete ignorance of historical reality. It was not the Orthodox Church which separated itself from the Roman Catholic Church, since there was no Roman Catholic or Orthodox Church to begin with, but was one Apostolic, Catholic and Orthodox Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. The schism was of a consequence of the gradual development of the Roman papacy from the time of Charlemagne onwards. To which we should add, that it was the representatives of Rome, who without permission from appropriate Roman ecclesial authorities, created the schism by excommunicating and anathematising Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Keroularios. A man who we should cite, would not concede to false “innovations” within the Church’s episcopal structure and order, as confronted by the formation of Rome’s papacy and claim of universal jurisdiction which goes contrary to what the Apostles and all succeeding Church Councils had set down, whether local or ecumenical.]

Previous attacks on Christians have raised concerns about the safety of religious minorities in Muslim Turkey, which has around 100,000 Christians out of a total population of 76 million.

In 2010, a leading Catholic bishop was stabbed to death at his home in southern Turkey by his driver and in 2006, a Roman Catholic priest was murdered in the Black Sea town of Trabzon by a teenager with suspected links to ultra-nationalists.

In 2007, three members of a Bible publishing company, one of whom was a German citizen, were tortured and killed in Malatya in central Turkey. (Reporting by Ayla Yackley; Writing by Jonathon Burch; Editing by Michael Roddy)

Fener-Phanar - Istanbul

THE PHANAR MEETING

Yusuf Kanli

By YUSUF KANLI (yusuf.kanli@hurriyet.com.tr )

It was “just” a return visit for a visit by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew to the Religious Affairs Directorate a year ago to congratulate the new director, Mehmet Görmez. It was a get together of a top Muslim man of religion with a Greek Orthodox man of religion. Whatever, it was a historic occasion.

The Greek Orthodox patriarch was considered for decades by this state as a “local Phanar patriarch” which under Turkish law was not even a national institution, forget being an ecumenical one. The patriarch and the patriarchate were like a “dagger in the chest” of the nation, “working constantly against Turkish interests” as if it was “an agent of Greece.”

Indeed, even today many people in this country still share the paranoia that like the Vatican the patriarch is trying to carve out a holy “Ecumenical Greek Orthodox Patriarchate” city in Istanbul. For that reason the patriarchate and rich Greeks were constantly suspected of buying out properties in the historical heartland of the largest Turkish city. Restoration of rights of minority foundations and such developments were all condemned as the government was giving in to international pressure and surrendering to Greek utopias.

Such considerations were of course all products of the past traumas the Turkish nation suffered. Be they be classified as “Balkan defeat syndrome” or the “Sevres Syndrome” of course such conditions should have been healed long ago and should not have been allowed to survive to this day. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) might be undertaking the “Greek opening” or “patriarchate opening” with a neo-Ottomanist overconfidence – like Sultan Mehmet II, who conquered Constantinople, today’s Istanbul, and after the conquest provided the patriarchate with vast powers.

The visit of Religious Affairs Director Görmez to the patriarchate yesterday was important and heralded a mentality change in official Ankara. If after almost 90 years the republic could understand that the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate is an asset not a threat, perhaps tomorrow the same official Ankara will succeed in understanding that rather than a security threat an ecumenical patriarchate might be an efficient tool in better explaining Turkey’s positions to the global community of nations. Perhaps, as Görmez underlined while leaving the patriarchate, Ankara will manage to understand as well that the Halki Seminary must be reopened and the “Greeks of Turkey” and those following the “Greek Orthodox Church” all through the world can raise their men of religion at a “Turkish education institution.”

At a time when “grandiose obsessions” of the current political Islamist team reached the limits of building at Çamlıca a grand mosque with at least six minarets and visible all through the city, a “grandiose gesture” like the first-ever visit to the patriarchate by a religious affairs director might indeed demonstrate the sui generis character of this land and people.

A multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious society was the richness of the Ottomans. Is Turkey indeed not remembering that historical treasure as it is trying to leave behind that rigid, uniform, secular nation-building mentality?

Hürriyet Daily News July/06/2012

READER COMMENTS

Murat (7/6/2012 6:28:35 PM):

What has happened to our Greek minority is a national and historic disgrace. An Orthodox Vatican belongs to Istanbul, nowhere else. It is a national and world treasure in spite of all the dark chapters in its history. It is our history. A solution should be found to Halki issue within the framework of Turkish laws and educations system, if necessary through special laws.

dogan kemal ileri (7/6/2012 12:05:45 PM):

Wise words Mr Kanli and you are 100% correct. Turkiye will realise all its peoples including all the ethnic minorities are sum of its entire human resources and are indeed its major asset. Its happening now Turkiye is changing for the better fast.

Turkish National Flag

WHY SOME “TURKS” ARE LESS EQUAL

Burak Bekdil

By BURAK BEKDİL  (burak.bekdil@hurriyet.com.tr )

Back in 2009, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I quietly complained that “we are being crucified daily.” The government’s response was a quick, not-so-veiled threat, issuing a statement that said, “[We] hope that was a slip of the tongue.”

Never mind the threatening wording of the response. Luckily the patriarch has not been literally crucified since then. But it was most bizarre that the official reply to the remarks of a Turkish citizen had come from the foreign minister. Where was the foreign element in the words of a full Turkish citizen?

The bitter truth remains unchanged: Some Turks are “foreign.” Last week, press reports revealed that the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul that had tried the Israeli soldiers involved in the Mavi Marmara incident had asked the intelligence services for a listing of Turkish Jews who travelled to Israel two weeks before and after the incident. The suspects were allegedly put under surveillance and a list was sent to the court.

Once again, the Foreign Ministry replied to allegations of a Turkish Jewish witch-hunt. The ministry’s spokesman said “we strongly rebuff efforts to give the image as if there is any sentiment against our Jewish citizens.” Another little foot note of no importance had been engraved in Turkish history: The foreign – not the justice or interior – ministry officially commented on a prosecution against Turkish citizens.

But why do the Turkish diplomats see nothing weird about commenting on the domestic affairs of fully tax-paying Turkish citizens? And why do tens of millions of Turks just accept that as normal, as the norm, as if there is nothing bizarre about it? Can anyone with a little bit of sanity find it normal if the U.S. Secretary of State “denied efforts to give the image as if there is any negative sentiment against American Jews?”

Let’s call a cat a cat. In both cases, i.e., the patriarch and the Turkish-Jewish “traitors,” the foreign minister and his ministry showed the reflex of getting involved simply because they, like an overwhelming majority of the nation, see something “foreign” about the Turkish citizens in question. And that foreignness is about the fact that those Turkish citizens are not Muslim.

This thinking and behavior are a violation of the Constitution, but does no one seem to care? That’s why I have often argued that the Turks would always find de jure ways to breach even the best-written constitution and, hence, too much talk over a new constitution is just too much talk.

One of the most poignant moments in Jenny White’s new book “Out of the Chrysalis,” according to the Economist, is an exchange with Ishak Alaton, Turkey’s best-known Jewish entrepreneur and a frequent target of anti-Semitic rants in the Islamic media. “Jenny, you can write this in your book,” Alaton said, “that the man you interviewed today, who has reached his 82-years-old, has never been given the feeling by this nation that I am part of it.”

But there is an element of fairness here. The Turkish state and most Turks have always indiscriminately discriminated against the “other,” whether the other is “foreign” or not. Before the AKP supposedly rebuilt democratic culture, there was systematic discrimination against non-Muslim Turks, Muslim or non-Muslim Kurds, Muslim or non-Muslim Alevis, devout Muslims and communists. All of those Turkish citizens felt precisely like Alaton felt: they were not part of this nation.

And in the years of the AKP’s “advanced democracy,” there is systematic discrimination against non-Muslim Turks (foreigners, are they not?), Muslim or non-Muslim Kurds, Muslim or non-Muslim Alevis, communists, anarchists, atheists and secular Muslims.

The foreign ministry’s spokesman’s words that “the Jewish community are [made of] equal citizens and an integral part of our society” can be more creative than Hans Christian Andersen’s but are certainly much less amusing.

Hürriyet Daily News – December/26/2012

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2 comments

  1. The journey towards building a modern nation is not an easy one, where people can live and enjoy the fruits of their labours and freedoms without interference or coercion, which of course is the desire of all peoples in any place of the globe. In Turkey’s case that task is certainly difficult due to being the region’s former imperial power, and to whose authorities have used foreign relations to not only bully their neighbours, but to silence Turks on domestic policy issues. Of course from history we know that heavy handed approach caused the Ottomans abuse their authority over their subject peoples, to which she copped the nationalist backlash of all as a result, and the accompanying atrocities of revenge for past oppressions.

    Yet that same nationalism in turn entered into the Turkish phronema, and produced results of equal and dangerous consequence as Ottoman corruption and Sharia, to which groups in Anatolia that had been reduced from majorities to being minorities became subject to further oppressions. And that in time eventually translated into oppressions of Turks towards other Turks. I can recall how one young man in the service of Istanbul’s public works was accused of being a Kurdish separatist, despite having no biological, political or cultural links with anything remotely Kurdish. This gentleman disappeared, only to be rediscovered in some prison in Diyabakir by journalist 3 years after his surprise disappearance engineered by authorities. The reason for his disappearance was based on purported political statements that he made a month before his seizure.

    In any case,such incidences have virtually become non-existent over the last few years, as the country has seen an extraordinary shift whereby Turks are not scared to speak freely, and engage in the pursuits that they desire, to form political parties and so forth without hindrance. The country is actually coming of age and growing strong, whereas in bygone days assassination attempts on figures like Orthodox clergymen or political opponents would have gone unnoticed or claims of conspiracy by outside forces would have been made in order to cover things up.

    But thankfully in this case of attempted assassination on our beloved Patriarch, the authorities took serious steps in averting such a tragedy, and so to the Turkish police we should give thanks and congratulate them heartily for their professionalism and courageousness. Yet this incident is but a hiccup in Turkey’s journey of coming of age as a nation of importance, but the Turkish people need to continue to take advantage of their freedoms to hold their politicians and military men to account, especially now that they are pursuing a policy of destabilising Syria…. But I have every confidence in the wisdom of the Turkish people to avoid such a catastrophe.

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