Rock-Throwing Turkish National Extremists Demonstrate at Phanar, Clash with Police &
Burn Effigy of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Commander Limberakis Calls Under Secretary of State Grossman, US Ambassador to Turkey Edelman and Turkish Ambassador Tanc in Washington Expressing Alarm, Concern, Outrage
On Sunday, September 5th when most Archons in America were enjoying the Labor Day holiday with their families, some 1,000 Turkish national extremists marched on the Phanar, the spiritual center of 300 million Orthodox faithful hurling rocks and clashing with police who used tear gas and batons to disperse the protestors as they approached the Patriarchate. According to reports from Istanbul, the ultra-nationalists conducted a mock trial of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, found him guilty of betraying the country of Turkey and sentenced him to death, burning an effigy of our beloved Ecumenical Patriarch. The extremists oppose allowing the Greek Orthodox Church to own land, and have been upset by reports the government wants to reopen the Theological School of Halki, which Ankara closed in 1971. Their protests were also aimed at the increasing number of foreigners buying property in Turkey.
Fortunately, His All Holiness was not at the Patriarchate, nor were any Patriarchal clergy or staff injured. The police, whose district the Archons visited last February, successfully prevented the extremists from entering the grounds of the Phanar.
On behalf of the National Council, Commander Limberakis called Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman in Washington and US Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman in Ankara expressing the grave concern, alarm and outrage of the Order regarding these events and urged the United States government to call on Turkey to ensure and maintain the security and safety of His All Holiness and the entire Phanar Complex, in accordance with official United States Foreign Policy signed into law in 1998 by President Bill Clinton. Commander Limberakis called the Embassy of Turkey in Washington and spoke with Ambassador Tuluy Tanc conveying a similar message of grave concern.
The National Council urges all Archons and Orthodox faithful to notify their United States Senators and Congressmen regarding these serious concerns.
September 7, 2004