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For the first time Armenian citizen claims for tenure in Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is the Bishop of Diocese of Gougark Sebouh Chuljyan Primate, Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review reports.

If Chuljyan wins, he will be 85th Armenian Patriarch in Turkey. Under Ottoman regulations as of 1861, a bishop can be the patriarch of Armenians in Turkey if his father was born in Turkey, the source says.

Referring to Surp Kevork Armenian church (St. Gregory) in Istanbul, Chuljyan said “the church will be kept away from politics.”

“We will not repeat the previous mistakes. Let politicians deal with politics. I will put effort into enhancing the dialogue between the Turkish and Armenian peoples. We need to look deep in each other’s eyes and talk about grievances,” the source quotes Bishop.

Chuljyan also touched upon Armenia-Turkey reconciliation, noting that “this chance to open the path of dialogue between the two peoples should not be missed.”
The bishop criticized the West, attaching significance to Germany’s responsibility in 1915 events. “I would like to think that those who try to act as mediators between the Turkish and Armenian people are trying to get rid of the burden of their consciences. However, they have their interests in mind once again, in the form of the Caucasus,” he added.

Chuljyan also spoke of Surb Khach (Armenian church in Akhtamar Island) reopening for prayers, expressing confidence “that the Turkish people have respect for all beliefs. I believe they will understand the importance of Surb Khach for Armenians.”

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