Patriarch Bartholomew praises Gülen’s dialogue efforts

Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I takes part in the 4th World Policy Conference in Vienna on Dec. 10, 2011. (Photo: EPA)

TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL 11/4/2012 Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has praised well-respected Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen for his efforts to build intercultural dialogue in Turkey and the world in an interview he gave to a US daily. “He builds bridges, and religion should build bridges,” said the patriarch. “This is why we need the dialogues. Not to ...

Patriarch Bartholomew to demand non-Muslims have place in state

Bartholomew will speak on Feb. 20 in front of Parliament where he will present a package of proposals to improve the rights of minorities in Turkey. (Photo: EPA)

TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL 14/2/2012 Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I will present a package of proposals to Parliament next week, emphasizing the restricted rights of minorities in Turkey and demanding they play a role in top-level state bureaucracy. Patriarch Bartholomew will speak in front of MPs in Parliament on Feb. 20, when he will discuss the problems facing minorities ...

Malatya Municipality demolishes Armenian place of worship

(Photo: AA)

TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL 3/2/2012 Officials from the Malatya Municipality have demolished three buildings, including a place of worship that was under renovation, located inside an Armenian cemetery even though the Malatya governor and mayor gave permission. A residence for the watchman, a room to bathe the bodies of the dead and a place of worship were pulled down ...

Armenian private’s family: Sevag was killed intentionally while serving army

YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN ,İSTANBUL 1/2/2012 The family of a young man of Armenian descent shot dead by another private while serving in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have said they believe that he was intentionally killed, after new evidence changed the course of the trial. Pvt. Sevag Şahin Balıkçı was killed on April 24, 2011, the date the ...

Armenian church reopens in Karaköy after Restoration

Archbishop Aram Ateşyan (2nd L) and Mayor Sarıgül (2nd R) pose for cameras at the newly opened church. (Photo: AA)

10/1/20111 TODAY'S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL Sunday saw St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in the Karaköy quarter of İstanbul reopen for religious services following a six-year period of renovation supported by Sişli Municipality Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül. Sarıgül was joined for the occasion by the mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, along with Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, deputy patriarch of the Armenian ...

Vingas: Turkey’s non-Muslims, government getting closer

Laki Vingas (Photo: Today's Zaman, Kürşat Bayhan)

1/1/2012 YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN , İSTANBUL Laki Vingas, the first non-Muslim citizen of Turkey to be elected as a representative of non-Muslim foundations in the Council of the General Assembly of the VGM, has said that the government and the non-Muslim community have been establishing closer relations after years of mistrust and distance. “Since we had a new ...

Christians in Turkey festively celebrate Christmas

Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas with a religious service on saturday at St. Pierre Church in Hatay. (Photo: AA) TODAY'S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL 25/12/2011 The thousands of Christians in Turkey began their Christmas celebrations on Dec. 24, and several religious ceremonies were held in different churches as political figures like the president and prime minister issued holiday messages. İstiklal Street was ...

Amid increasing debt woes, Greeks ponder a return to İstanbul

TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL 30/10/2011 The hardship brought on by Athens’s present fiscal woes is prompting many Greeks to consider looking for opportunities in neighboring İstanbul, says a study published in the Sunday pages of the Greek newspaper Proto Thema. According to the paper, officials from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and other Greek organizations based in İstanbul ...

Turkey’s Armenians demand rights, not tolerance from State

The historical Armenian church on Akhtamar Island in the province of Van was not returned to the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey but opens for worship once a year.

YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN , İSTANBUL 2/10/2011 A new study, which explores various issues faced by Turkey’s Armenians in the republican period, asserts that Armenian citizens of the country are demanding their rights, not tolerance. “When fighting with discrimination, one thing that should never be used but which we frequently hear is the concept of ‘tolerance’ in reference ...

Clinton hails Turkey for move to return properties to non-Muslim Minorities

TODAY'S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL 14/9/2011 The Turkish government's decision to return properties that were confiscated from non-Muslim minorities in 1936 and to lift a ban on wearing headscarves at university campuses have drawn enthusiastic praise from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “We have also seen Turkey take serious steps to improve the climate for religious tolerance. The ...

Armenians hold second religious ceremony at Akdamar Church

TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL 11/9/2011 A second religious ceremony has been held since the historic Sept. 19, 2010 service at the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Akdamar in the eastern province of Van on Sunday. Hymns and prayers resonated on Akdamar Island in 2010, 95 years after religious services ended in the Armenian ...

Non-Muslims praise law to return properties, await its Implementation

YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN, İSTANBUL 4/9/2011 Non-Muslim groups in Turkey have praised highly the government's recent move to return properties confiscated from religious minorities since 1936, and look forward to the announcement of regulations as to how the law will be implemented. According to a decree published in the Official Gazette last weekend, property seized from Christian and ...

Places of worship special field of interest for Turkish-Armenian Architect

The Surp Vortvots Vorodman Church was in a bad state of disrepair. Its recent renovation breathed new life into the building (inset).

ESIN KAYA, İSTANBUL 17/7/2011 Turkish-Armenian architect Kevork Özkaragöz, who comes from the province of Malatya in eastern Turkey, differs from many colleagues in his profession in that he does not confine his abilities solely to a certain category of buildings. Instead, he works on almost all types of places of worship from various faiths, including mosques, ...

550th anniversary of Armenian Patriarchate celebrated, accompanied by silent Protest

YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN , İSTANBUL 3/6/2011 The Armenian Church and the Armenian Community in İstanbul celebrated last Sunday the 550th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian Patriarchate and a group of İstanbul Armenians held a silent protest wearing black and purple ribbons to stand against the government's decision to appoint a co-patriarch in addition to current ...

Syriac community gathers for Ritual

1/7/2010 Hundreds of Assyrians from Turkey and abroad convened at the 12th Great Ritual of the Syriac Kadim Community in the eastern Turkish province of Adıyaman on Wednesday at the Mor Petrus-Mor Pavlus Church. The metropolitan bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the province of Adıyaman, Melki Ürek, who is also responsible for Syriac churches in ...