Politics 10:57 08/01/2020 Armenia

Senate’s adoption of genocide resolution upsets newly-elected Patriarch of Turkey

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

I responded last month to the interview given by the newly-elected Patriarch of Turkey, Bishop Sahak II Mashalyan, to a Turkish newspaper in which he had criticized the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution by the U.S. Senate.

Since then, the Armenian world was disturbed that the Patriarch has continued giving interviews to the Turkish media, making pro-Turkish and anti-Armenian comments. As I have written before, it is understandable that the remnants of the Armenian community in Istanbul are hostages in the brutal hands of the Turkish regime. Consequently, we should express some understanding for their questionable pronouncements. Nevertheless, not every statement is made under duress. Some of their negative statements are made of their own free will, without any pressure from the Turkish government. Sometimes, certain Armenians in Turkey make anti-Armenian statements either to protect their own business arrangements with Turkish officials or to preserve their seats by endearing themselves to the Turkish authorities. Therefore, one should not automatically jump to the conclusion that we should refrain from criticizing their pro-Turkish statements just because they live in Turkey. It all depends on the circumstances of the statement and the extent to which an Istanbul Armenian attacks Armenians and their political demands.

After giving interviews to two Turkish newspapers -- Milliyet and Sabah -- Patriarch Mashalyan continued to be the center of attention of the Turkish media. He told the Aksham newspaper on January 2, 2020, that Diaspora Armenians and Istanbul Armenians have no connection with each other and that the Diaspora has remained 100 years behind.

Patriarch Mashalyan added: “All minorities in Turkey agree that we live in our most comfortable period under the reign of President Erdogan.” The Patriarch seems to have forgotten that for the last 12 years the Armenian community was not allowed to elect a replacement Patriarch after the comatose state of the previous Patriarch. Erdogan’s government was also the one that banned the participation of several Turkish Armenian clergymen in the patriarchal election simply because they were serving in parishes outside of Turkey. Patriarch Mashalyan most probably would not have been chosen if the other candidates were allowed to participate in the election.

“Ever since the period of the Ottoman Empire, the problems of minorities have been exploited to interfere in the internal affairs of Turkey. We do not want this issue to be the reason why Turkey suffers losses in international politics. We are the citizens of this country. Any word against this country hurts us too,” the Patriarch told Aksham newpaper.

Furthermore, the Patriarch of Turkey stated that “the Armenian Diaspora has no connection with us. 1915 and its subsequent memories have been transmitted through generations. They have seen that this issue at least preserves their unity and creates a negative collective consciousness. A collective consciousness has been created based on a tragedy. They do not wish to lose it. But we remained on these lands after those events. We chose to live together with the other elements. The Diaspora has remained 100 years behind…. There is a difference between the way we understand Islam and the way the Diaspora understands it. In reality, the people are much softer. They remember on April 24, and forget it until the next April 24.”

Continuing his anti-Armenian crusade, Patriarch Sahak II told the Turkish NTV on January 2, 2020 that the decision of the U.S. Senate approving the Armenian Genocide Resolution “hurt me.” The Patriarch also stated: “We are not the Diaspora. We have always been here and stayed in this country. After the bitter events of 1915, we chose to stay here. We lived for 105 years differently from the Diaspora Armenians. They existed with the 1915 trauma with bitter memories which they passed from generation to generation. We survived that trauma. We did not forget it, but we survived it. The magic of living together has taken place.”

Patriarch Sahak II has had a controversial past with various odd incidents. But I prefer not to dwell on those issues right now. It is not pleasant to attack a high- ranking Armenian clergyman. I just want to quote briefly from the Patriarch’s 2017 writing: “I gave the church my life, my youth and my masculinity. I do not have a family. For six years, I lived in a 20 meter square room in the Patriarchate.”

The statements made by Patriarch Sahak II to the Turkish media, at the very beginning of his term in office, even prior to his ordination, are not a good sign. Many Armenians, both inside and outside Turkey, were complaining that his rival, Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, was too subservient to the Turkish authorities. While that kind of behavior is somewhat understandable, given the oppressive nature of the Turkish authorities, the newly-elected Patriarch has far exceeded his rival’s submissive conduct.

Patriarch Sahak II’s self-demeaning words to the Turkish media are simply the repetition of the Turkish denials of the Armenian Genocide and rejection of the recent recognition by the US Senate. Furthermore, by aligning himself with the Turkish government, the Patriarch is distancing himself and the Turkish Armenian community from the Diaspora just as Turkish officials have banned Turkish Armenian clergymen serving in the Diaspora from participating in the patriarchal election.

Patriarch Sahak II is living in the honeymoon stage of his new position. However, as we have seen in the past, the Turkish government can at any moment tighten the screws on the local Armenian community. When that happens, it is the Armenian Diaspora that will come to the rescue of the Turkish Armenian community, ignoring the Patriarch’s unwelcome words against the Diaspora!

Furthermore, I am mindful that the Patriarch will use Diaspora’s critical statements to score points with the Turkish authorities.

Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:


Famous Armenian boxer Israel Hakobkokhyan goes on hunger strike
Famous Soviet Armenian boxer, Merited Master of Sport Israel Hakobkokhyan on Thursday went on a hunger strike in front of the government...
Media Advocate: Negative articles on Arsen Torosyan prevail
Negative media reports on Armenia’s Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan prevail, the Media Advocate initiative said in a statement on...
Congress has secretly blocked US arms sales to Turkey for nearly two years – Defense News
Four key members of Congress, either individually or collectively, have quietly frozen all major U.S. arms sales to Turkey for nearly two years...
Armenian graves in Ankara desecrated
The cemetery belonging to the Armenian Surp Prgich (Holy Savior) and Surp Karasun Manuk Churches in the Sincan district of Ankara has been...
168.am: US Embassy urges its citizens not to use Armenian airlines
The US Embassy in Armenia has banned its employees from using Armenian airlines for official travel, urging its citizens to do the same, 168.am...
Viva-MTS: Recharge+ – now for up to AMD 2,000
Viva-MTS informs that from now on, within the Recharge+ service one can continue using Viva-MTS services for up to AMD 2000 instead of AMD 1,500...
UK life insurers pay 90 million pounds in COVID-19 claims – trade body
British life insurers paid 90 million pounds ($117.18 million) in claims related to deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic in the three months to...
Armenian government to support grape growers, winemakers and brandy makers
The Armenian government on Thursday announced a measure to support grape growers, winemakers and brandy producers, who are among the hardest hit...
Nearly 6% of people in England may have had COVID-19, researchers say
Nearly 6% of people in England were likely infected with COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic, researchers studying the prevalence of...
Armenian government announces coronavirus relief package for tourism
The Armenian government announced on Thursday a new relief package aimed at supporting the tourism sector hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic....
40 family members test positive for coronavirus after West Virginia funeral
More than 40 members of the same family in the U.S. State of West Virginia  have reportedly been infected with the coronavirus after they...
Analyst: Neither Azerbaijan nor Turkey has come to terms with outcome of Tavush clashes
The Armenian-Azerbaijani border clashes in Tavush Province have been followed by mutual intensive visits of various Azerbaijani and Turkish...
Weekly cabinet meeting kicks off in Armenia
The Armenian government is holding a weekly cabinet meeting on Thursday with 39 items on the agenda. Only three issues on the agenda are to...
Artsakh reports no new coronavirus cases for third day in a row
Artsakh has reported no new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the third day in a row. The national virus tally stands at 251. 4...
Trump reportedly considering replacing Defense Secretary Esper after election
U.S. President Donald Trump has privately discussed with advisers the possibility of replacing Defense Secretary Mark Esper after the November...
Armenia reports 229 new COVID-19 cases, tally tops 41,000 on August 13
Armenia has confirmed 229 new coronavirus infections in a 24-hour period, bringing the national tally to 41,023 as of 11 a.m. Thursday, August...
10 Armenian parties issue statement on Sevres Treaty centennial
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Sevres Treaty, 10 Armenian parties have issued a joint statement, deeming it necessary to shed...
Pompeo says he warned Lavrov against offering bounties for U.S. soldiers
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said he warned his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that there would be “an enormous...
Iraq cancels Turkish Defense minister visit, summons ambassador: statement
Iraq cancelled on Tuesday the Turkish defence minister’s visit to the country which was scheduled for Thursday, Iraq’s foreign...
Museums, libraries to reopen in Armenia as Covid-19 restrictions ease
Museums and libraries will reopen in Armenia as the government is gradually easing the Covid-19 restrictions imposed in March, Deputy Prime...
Avinyan: 57 coronavirus patients in critical condition in Armenia
A total of 258 coronavirus patients are in serious condition, while 57 others are in critical condition in Armenia, Deputy Prime Minister,...
Fallen soldier Sasha Galstyan would have turned 24 today
Today, August 12, marks the birthday anniversary of Sasha Galstyan, who heroically fell while defending the Artsakh borders during the 2016...
Analyst: Mediators have a lot of work to do to bring Azerbaijan back into political arena
The Turkish-Azerbaijani joint military exercises, which were initially scheduled for July 29-August 10, have in fact been extended. Tigran...
Twitter now lets users limit replies to their tweets
Twitter introduced a new feature that allows users to limit who can reply to their tweets, USA Today reported on Tuesday, citing a...
Trump says Americans will have to ‘learn Chinese’ if Biden wins
China would overtake the United States as the global superpower and force Americans to learn to speak Chinese if Joe Biden wins the election,...
Georgia reports 14 new COVID-19 cases
Georgia confirmed 14 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to 1,264, according to Xinhua. Two of the 14 new patients are...
Armenian PM’s assistant meets with angry protesters outside government building
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s assistant Nairi Sargsyan on Wednesday met with angry protesters in front of the government...
First batch of Russia's Covid-19 vaccine to be released in two weeks, health minister says
The first batch of the Russian vaccine against Covid-19 is expected to be released within two weeks, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on...
Armenia extends coronavirus state of emergency, removes some restrictions
The Armenian government extended the coronavirus state of emergency for another month at a special meeting on Wednesday. Presenting the...
Belarus post-election protests extend into third night
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Minsk and several other cities in Belarus on Tuesday evening, in a third straight night of protest...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}