Rogue Group of Retired Turkish Officers Planning Assassination of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Orthodox News | Order of St. Andrew the Apostle – Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate | July 26, 2007

A network of Turkish retired officers was planning even the murder of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomew according to investigations conducted by Turkish judicial authorities. The network was dismantled last month when weapons and explosives were found near in a hovel near Konstantinopolis. “Aksam” newspaper says that evidence on the planning of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomew assassination was found in the hard disc of the “National Forces Union” president, Bekir Ozturk. The same organization seems to have been planning assassinations of the Armenian Patriarch and Jewish businessman, Isaac Alaton, whose partner Gary was murdered under unknown conditions.

Bekir Ozturk was arrested within the framework of interrogations about the organization of retired officers who possessed an arsenal of grenades, bombs and other weapons taken from the army. The network of retired officers was cooperating with the nationalist organization ” Movement of Patriotic forces and other 4 organizations. The organization was founded on December, 27, 2006 and has 105 offices in 40 districts and 600.000 members.

The ecumenical Patriarchate has in the past experienced grenade attacks, claimed by an organization called IBDA, believed to be of Islamic roots. However, grenades and explosives used in the attacks came from military warehouses and in some cases their serial numbers were recognized by NATO procedures.

According to “Aksam” newspaper judicial authorities have called security authorities and intelligence services to strengthen security of the Ecumenical Patriarchate , the Armenian Patriarch and Isaac Alaton.


2 thoughts on “Rogue Group of Retired Turkish Officers Planning Assassination of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew”

  1. Here is the best article I’ve read explaining Turkish hostility to Christianity and how it is an essential part of their Nationalist dogma. Well worth reading.

    Turks & Tolerance: Putting Islamist victory in Turkey in context, Joshua Treviño, National Review


    The lesson that Kemal’s Turkish nationalists drew from the trauma of their republic’s birth was twofold: first, that religion in public life is a retrograde force; second, that non-Turks are a tremendous existential danger to Turkey. This outlook contained in itself its own contradiction: the definition of a “Turk” in this context is a Muslim who speaks Turkish. Given the polyglot nature of the Ottoman Empire, this means that those considered Turks are not all ethnically Turkish: Slavic, Caucasian, Arab, and Greek blood are all part of the national heritage. Thus, the Kemalist project attempted to simultaneously suppress faith, and posit faith as the defining characteristic of national identity. Though the state formally recognized non-Muslim citizens, it also suppressed and expelled them as much as possible, in a process beginning with the expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor in 1923, continuing with the pogrom eliminating the Greek community of Istanbul in 1955, and proceeding into the modern day with the slow push to eliminate the Orthodox Christian Patriarchate in Istanbul. Muslim citizens of the Turkish state would receive similar treatment if they dared seek autonomy — see the Kurds for a prime example — but if they refrained, they were generally left to pursue a quiet existence, as the thriving Arab population of Antakya, near the Syrian border, testifies.

    The baleful effects of this sort of nationalism are on display today. Religious freedom is severely restricted, and the country has a history of outright prohibition of missionary activity. As previously noted, the Turkish state actively seeks to eliminate the patriarch, senior bishop of the world’s Orthodox Christians, whose place of office has been in Istanbul since a millennium before the Turks conquered that city. A combination of legal restrictions and tightening controls mean that the pool of state-approved candidates for the patriarchate is rapidly shrinking, and unless these policies change, there will probably be no one left to become Patriarch before this century ends. The slow ending of an ancient Christian institution may seem, in the modern media narrative, an ambition of Islamists, and perhaps it is: but the responsibility here is squarely on Turkey’s Kemalist heritage, and its legacy of nationalist paranoia.

    ..Our true friends in Turkey are neither the Kemalist nationalists nor the Islamists, but the post-nationalist secularists who enliven Istanbul’s trendy districts, populate the Aegean resorts, and produce the literary genius of the likes of Pamuk. For now, that group has endorsed the AK party’s Islamists. It is a choice we should respect — even as we hope for more.

    This is not to be naïve or starry-eyed about Erdogan or the Islamists. They may proclaim their desire to join the European Union, and they may model themselves after the Christian Democrats in Europe. But Islam and Christianity make rather different claims on the state and society; and we should have enough experience with political Islam by now to regard it with wary skepticism until given reason to trust. And — let us note — we do not know whether, in a generation’s time, Turkish minorities may still be repressed, only in Islam’s name rather than Mustafa Kemal’s

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