28 May 2009, 12:52
Turkish Foreign Ministry considers it impossible to open Constantinople Patriarchate Representation in Kiev
Ankara, May 28, Interfax – The Constantinople Patriarch doesn’t have enough authority to open his representations outside of Turkey, in particular in Ukraine, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has stated. “Sources in the Foreign Ministry said such initiatives of Ukraine don’t have legal grounds… The Patriarchate can not take such a decision without permission of (official) Turkey, Turkish paper Aksam said quoting diplomatic circles. Thus, Foreign Policy Department commented on the results of the recent meeting between Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko and Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul when the Ukrainian head voiced the idea of opening representation of the Constantinople Patriarchate in his country.A possibility of opening church representation office and cultural center was discussed. It is not clear whether the parties managed to reach any agreement on the question. The paper further said that according the Peace Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923, Patriarch of Constantinople does not have “an ecumenical” status and is not a legal person. “As far as the status is concerned, there’s no difference between the Patriarch and imam of any mosque,” the article reads. As is known, the Turkish authorities do not recognize His Holiness Bartholomew as Ecumenical Patriarch (historical title inherited from the Byzantium times.) Turkey does not consider him the Patriarch of Constantinople either saying there is no city with such a name and using of this title can be interpreted as rejection of long-term political realities. Turkish media usually speak about the “Patriarch of Phanar” (a quarter in Istanbul once inhabited by Greeks where the Patriarchate is located) and stress that he is a religious leader of insignificant Greek minority in Turkey.