The Turkish Constitutional Court has ruled that the prevention by the authorities and different courts of the election of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople as violation of Armenians’ religious rights, Agos reports.
The decision refers to a number of applications on organizing elections of a new Patriarch filed by the Armenian community since 2010 that have been rejected by different structures in Turkey.
The late Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan’s inability to perform his duties from 2008 prompted the Armenian community to initiate a process of election of his successor. However, the Turkish state declared in 2010 that a new Patriarch could not be elected as long as the acting Patriarch was alive and allowed to elect a General Vicar. Archbishop Aram Ateshyan was elected to the post that had never existed before.
After years of discord Ateshyan lost a re-election, but Istanbul Governor’s office declared the elections invalid.
The decision cannot affect the current process of patriarchal elections, which started after Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan's death.