ISTANBUL (Marmara)–Turkish Minister of the Interior Mourad Bashesgioclu met on Sunday with Archbishop Mesrob Moutafyan–Locum Tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul. The Archbishop was accompanied by Pilo Atan–Chairman of the Patriarchal Elections Committee. Also attending the meeting was Istanbul Representative Jefi Kamhi.
Discussion–which was held in a positive atmosphere–addressed Patriarchal elections and activities since the passing of Patriarch Karekin II.
Minister Bashesgioclu stated that the election for the 84th Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul will proceed under provisions made by resolution 5/1654 of the Presidential Council of September 18–1961 and resolution 153966 of the Interior Ministry Council of June 7–1990 regarding the Bylaws of Patriarchal Elections.
The Minister pledged to reevaluate certain decisions made in the last few months which were a consequence of misinformation–and to correct them according to the Turkish Constitution.
The Armenian delegation expressed gratitude to the Minister and once again stressed that the Armenia’s of Turkey are loyal and informed citizens and have always abided by all citizens’ laws and formalities.
Earlier in the week the Religious Council recognized Archbishop Moutafyan as Locum Tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul–in accordance to law and religious tradition. In a secret ballot–the Religious Council unanimously voted Archbishop Moutafyan as its chairman and Reverend Aram Ateshian as its secretary.
The elections were held due to a series of Religious Council resignations resulting from internal controversy over the ascendance of Archbishop Moutafyan to the position of Locum Tenens.
The Governor of Istanbul had also refused to recognize Archbishop Moutafyan as Locum Tenens.
The auspicious meeting with the Minister of the Interior is expected to expedite the election process–as well as help end internal patriarchate issues.