In Defense of Christians (IDC), a leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East, urged the Turkish Government not to interfere with the election of the Istanbul Armenian Patriarch.
IDC said in a statement it mourns the passing of Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II in Istanbul, Turkey, who died Friday at the age of 62 after a long illness.
The organization reminds that Patriarch Mesrob had been incapacitated since 2008 due to an early onset of dementia, but the Turkish government prevented the Armenian patriarchate in Turkey from electing a successor last year.
“The Turkish government has historically interfered in the election process of the Armenian Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople,” the IDC said.
“IDC is committed to full equality for Christians and Churches in the Middle East. Churches should be able to select their own leaders without state interference.” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini.
The Armenian Church will observe a period of mourning for forty days before selecting a new patriarch.