The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, has called for the recognition of “all the civil rights” of minorities in Turkey, including Christians, pointing out that the rights of Muslims are protected not only in that country but throughout Europe.
The Patriarch told Aid to the Church in Need that, “Christians in Turkey should enjoy the same rights as Muslims in the country and in Europe. We want not only the freedom to celebrate our faith in our churches, but also the recognition of all our civil rights, as is the case with our Muslim brethren in Turkey.”
Regarding the demands of Turkey that the Patriarch of Constantinople be of Turkish origin—which would place serious conditions on the election of the leader of the Orthodox Patriarchate—Bartholomew I recalled that he has at various times consulted with the government in Ankara but there has been no response. He proposed that the government grant Turkish nationality to whoever is elected Patriarch.
Asked about the upcoming elections set for June 22, he called on the government to “carry out radical reforms for the good of Turkey.”