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Turkish citizens hold demonstration outside Phanar in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Demonstrators rally outside the Ecumenical Patriarchate in support of Turkish minority rights. (Photo by N. Manginas)

A demonstration in support of minorities was organized on Saturday, January 9, outside the compound of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. The event was organized by a coalition of liberal and peacemaker organizations named ’70 Million Steps Against Coups’. Demonstrators shouted slogans and held banners reading: ‘No one should be able to touch the Patriarchate and Patriarch Bartholomew’; ‘Long live the brotherhood of peoples’; ‘Freedom’; ‘Dissolve Ergenekon’; in Greek: ‘All peoples are brothers and sisters’; and in Turkish: ‘Bring coup instigators and ones planning “Klovos” to Justice.’

The Turkish government has recently revealed that “Klovos” is a plan of some forces in the army to perform assassinations aimed at creating incidents like the September 1955 pogrom against the Greek Orthodox minority (Septemvriana).

In a statement which was read by their representative they referred to three bloody coups which took place within the past 50 years; as well as elected mayors who are still being sent to prison, political parties being shut down, and the existence of article 301 of the Penal Code and the recent assassination of the Journalist Hrad Dink.

They say that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew would be the victim of the first planned assassination according to the “klovos” plan and stress that they neither would allow a new coup nor new “Septemvriana”.

The Coalition, which performed the demonstration today outside the Phanar, was created two years ago by non-governmental organizations. “We have organized many demonstrations against police state and coup instigators,” stated their representative Ms. Gilsin Enen, to ANA MPA and added that, “today we are demonstrating in support of our fellow Turkish citizens of the Greek minority who have been victims of attacks. We are here preventing a new attack against Greeks and we will offer our support towards them.”

His All Holiness was not present in the Phanar at the time of the demonstration but he was informed by reporters who were at his side while he was at the Black Sea countryside with the Greek Orthodox young people of Istanbul.

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