Constantinople, January 3, 2018
Turkish intelligence agencies suspect His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of having connections with the opposition Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and the American CIA, while attacks directed at the patriarch and the patriarchate are expanding dangerously, reports RIA-Novosti, with reference to a recent edition of the Greek journal “Elikhera.”
The two countries have warned the patriarch about threats to his life, the journal claims.
Turkish authorities also blame Gülen’s FETO organization for involvement in the attempted coup of July 2016, although Gülen himself has condemned the coup and denies the accusation.
Turkish media began a “dirty game” of implicating Pat. Bartholomew in a governmental coup of 2016 immediately after the attempted coup, the journal writes. Such publications began with the newspaper “Aydynlyk,” which claimed that U.S. Secret Service representatives allegedly knew about the coming military coup and warned the patriarch, who quickly left Turkey three hours before the beginning of the coup. At first it was unknown where he went, though it later became known that he had gone to Slovenia.
As previously reported, Church officials condemned the false allegations of the patriarch’s involvement, saying that they may have been concocted to embarrass the Church. They also insisted that the timing of his departure was a coincidence, and that the patriarch learned of the attempted coup only once he landed in Slovenia. His All-Holiness subsequently condemned the violence.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suspects that Pat. Bartholomew has a friendly relationship with Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, and agents of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization conduct constant surveillance on the patriarch and on his entourage around the world, and especially in the U.S., the article states.
American intelligence officers, and the officers of “one other country” have reportedly warned the Ecumenical Patriarchate about this surveillance.
“If the Turkish regime and Erdogan deem it necessary to threaten the life of Patriarch Bartholomew, it will be threatened. Nothing will stop those who feel powerful,” the Greek newspaper writes.
Note that the patriarch has often been threatened by radical Islamists and Molotov cocktails have been thrown into the patriarchate, but, despite demands for the strengthening of the protection of the patriarch’s residence in the Phanar in Constantinople, the Turkish authorities have actually diminished it.