ISTANBUL (Marmara)–The Armenian Patriarch of Bolis Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, has appealed to the government of Turkey, on several occasions, to resolve issues tied to the country’s Armenian community. Meeting with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul recently, the Patriarch asked about the status of documents forwarded to the foreign ministry on just those issues.
At the invitation of the Foreign Ministry, Patriarch Mutafian, along with several of his advisors, therefore met with high-ranking officials from the Foreign Ministry, as well as two representatives of the country’s Interior Ministry on January 20, to address several concerns.
In a meeting that lasted two hours, the following issues were presented and discussed at length:
–Discrepancies in implementation of land ownership laws–an act that counters stipulations set forth by the European Union as a condition for Turkey’s accession into the EU. Aside from issues of implementation, however, minorities who inherit or are gifted property face limitations and obstructions; existing laws discriminate against minorities.
–Means to educate and prepare both Armenian clergy and language instructors. To address the issue, a meeting will be organized in the near future with the chairman of the commission on higher education to find a solution.
–The necessity to modernize ministry laws to run parallel to not only by-laws of the Patriarchate, but also Armenian customs and traditions.
–Conducting broader polls to in electing those who direct community establishments. Thus, finding a resolution to the election of local administrators who oversee churches in Kessaria, Kerekkhan, Diarbekir, as well as the issue of reopening the churches of Malatya and Sivas for worship.
–Threats to seize the Holy Cross Seminary which has been willed to the Patriarchate; obstruction of efforts to gain ownership.