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Prevention of Armenian Patriarch's election violation of religious rights, Turkish court says
2019-05-24 17:47:25

The Turkish Constitutional Court has ruled that the prevention by the authorities and different courts of the election of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople as violation of Armenians’ religious rights, Agos reports. 

The decision refers to a number of applications on organizing elections of a new Patriarch filed by the Armenian community since 2010 that have been rejected by different structures in Turkey.

The late Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan’s inability to perform his duties from 2008 prompted the Armenian community to initiate a process of election of his successor. However, the Turkish state declared in 2010 that a new Patriarch could not be elected as long as the acting Patriarch was alive and allowed to elect a General Vicar. Archbishop Aram Ateshyan was elected to the post that had never existed before.

After years of discord Ateshyan lost a re-election, but Istanbul Governor’s office declared the elections invalid.

Elections can now be held after Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan passed away on March 8, 2019. However, during the preceding 11-year period, a number of court decisions were made regarding the patriarchal elections that were appealed on the grounds of "violation of freedom of religion and conscience."

The decision cannot affect the current process of patriarchal elections, which started after Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan's death.