05/14/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Once again, Turkey is interfering in the election cycle of the Armenian Orthodox Church.
The former Patriarch Mesrob II mysteriously fell into a coma in 2008, and the government refused to allow the Armenian community to elect a new patriarch since Mesrob II was technically still alive. However, he would pass away this past March. The Armenian Church has again petitioned the government to allow them to elect a new patriarch. However, the government has told the church to delay elections until after June 23rd.
This delay is yet another tactic by the government to intimidate and control the church. The Armenian Patriarch’s seat is based in Istanbul. Turkey’s electoral board has ordered a re-run of the Istanbul mayoral race after President Erdogan’s AK Party unexpectedly lost the election there, for the first time in years. The re-run is scheduled for June 23rd.
Erdogan’s defeat in Istanbul was significant, as this was the city where he first rose to prominence. He has come under heavy criticism for compelling votes until such a time as his party wins the mayoral election. The government has a long history of holding Christian communities’ hostage as a means of compulsion for different activities.
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