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Turkey: Armenian Patriarch pens letter to Erdogan outlining his community’s frustration with new foundation regulations

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew recently stated that it was a great injustice that religious minorities in Turkey have not been allowed to renew the administration of their institutions for so many years, “during which many died, many left, and many of our institutions, our churches, could not be administered and function properly, with the risk that representatives would be appointed by the State and that the administration of these institutions would be removed from the members of the community, to which they belong.”

His All-Holiness then expressed his disappointment because the minority-owned hospitals were excluded from the process. “We are being told that for these particular institutions we will be allowed to conduct elections next year. This saddens us, and we do not hesitate to say that to all directions, because our hospital, now I am only talking about our minority, which is the largest of our institutions, is an integral part of our Community, our traditions, our heritage, and when they exclude it from the rest of the Community, the authorities are being unjust to that institution and to the Community as a whole.”

“Religious Communities Dissatisfied with Turkey’s New Foundations,” International Christian Concern, August 30, 2022:

08/30/2022 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople penned a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan outlining the dissatisfaction and frustration among the Armenian Christian community over the newly released foundation regulations. In order to manage their work, non-Muslim religious communities must register as a foundation in Turkey.

After eight years, Turkey released new regulations that allow Christian communities to elect new leaders and board members. The Armenian Patriarch, Sahak II Masalyan, historically communicates cordially with Turkish authorities. However, his latest letter outlines the growing frustration among the Armenian community and threats to boycott the electoral procedures.

Critics negatively viewed the updated constituencies’ territories for election, as well as health care foundations being under the control of the Ministry of Health. Currently, there are 167 non-Muslim religious foundations registered, including Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Jewish, Syrian, Chaldean, Bulgarian, Georgian, and Maronite communities….

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