Turkish Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu visited the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul on Monday, where he was welcomed by General Vicar, Archbishop Aram Ateshyan.
The Minister presented Turkey's stance on the election of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople. He said it's first necessary to elect a Locum Tenens, who will manage the activity of the Patriarchate in the transition period before a Patriarch is elected.
Mr. Soylu offered holding the election of the Locum Tenens on June 23.
He added that the "the Armenian community is of high value for the Turkish state" and added that the "peace and solidarity of the community is important."
The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan passed away on March 8. He was the 84th patriarch of Turkey's Armenian community and succeeded Karekin II in 1998.
Mutafyan, officially known as Mesrob II, began suffering from dementia in 2008 and had been in a vegetative state since then. However, he still officially remained patriarch and archbishop.
Archbishop Aram Atesyan was appointed to serve as Patriarchal Vicar, as Mesrob II had to withdraw from his duties due to his illness. A new patriarch could not be elected as Turkish laws prohibit any elections while a standing patriarch is alive.