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Turkish Constitutional Court Considers Impeding Elections for Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople to Be Violation of Religious Freedom

The Constitutional Court (CC) of Turkey has considered the Turkish authorities’ obstruction - for various reasons - of holding elections for a new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople to be a violation of the freedom of religion.

The CC examined the suit filed by the initiative group for the election of a new Patriarch, and it ruled in favor maintaining that Article 24 of the Turkish constitution was violated; that is, there has been a violation of religious freedom, reports, referring to Agos Armenian weekly of Istanbul. 

Ever since 2008, the late Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan, could not fulfill his respective duties due an incurable illness. As a result, the Armenian community petitioned numerous times to the Turkish authorities with a request for electing a new Patriarch, but it was always been turned down. Instead, the Turkish authorities appointed Archbishop Aram Ateşyan as General Vicar of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople.

But Archbishop Mutafyan passed away in March, whereupon a legal opportunity has de jure opened for the election of the new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople.

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