Virtual Assassination of Patriarch Mutafian

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By Edmond Y. Azadian

No matter how much one may resist believing in conspiracy theories, the daily revelations which unfold in Turkey come to prove the veracity of those theories.

Over the years, when religious leaders, Kurdish activists, liberal journalists and writers were being assassinated with impunity, one could deduct with certainty that those crimes were not random acts, and as the killers continued living in anonymity or were given light sentences, it was not hard to conclude that those crimes signified a special state plan, which was impossible to prove without the government’s acquiescence and cooperation. They were certainly tips of the icebergs, which would come out in their full identity one day.

When Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II, he had already the blood of a liberal journalist Abdi Ipekci on his hands.

Three Catholic priests were assassinated, which was followed by journalist Hrant Dink’s murder, compounding the list of many crimes, which the government refused to own. The Soursouluk scandal almost blew up the cover of these state-sponsored assassinations.

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Since the Ottoman days, it has been inherent in the Turkish government system to have a state within a state, which can achieve through murder, secret goals which the official government cannot achieve through its judicial system. The benefit of this system is to tame or eliminate alien elements within the Turkish society to alter the demographic profile of that country and to claim the land for the Turks only.
During the Ottoman era there were the Hamidieh groups, the Sultan’s special forces to exterminate the minorities. The Young Turks had their own Teshkilebel Makhsoussa, which organized and executed the Armenian Genocide.

The present Turkish government, which is angling for a membership in the European Union, recently started to clean up its act and discovered that it had its own “deep state” by the name of Ergenekon organization. Many ministers, internal security forces and high-ranking army generals were all part of a huge organization to plan and conduct illicit acts, while enjoying the state’s cover.

Many members have been arrested and have been taken to courts, to the displeasure of the military brass, which seems to be in collusion with these forces.
One has to read Orhan Pamuk’s novel, Snow, to realize the kind of repressive regime that successive military juntas have enforced in Turkey, reducing human lives to casualty statistics.

At the present time, the Erdogan government is in the process of house cleaning, hoping to democratize the country enough to join the European Union. There is even talk of settling the Kurdish issue; until now Turkey has claimed that there was no Kurdish problem because there were no Kurds, but only “mountain Turks.”
Daily arrests and investigations reveal how extensive the Ergenekon network has been. Now, joining the dots has led to many crimes to light, including plots against Armenians.

One of those plots intended to assassinate Patriarch Mesrob Mutafian, who was made aware of threats to his life. He was asked by the security services to use an armored car. Telephone and mail threats were daily occurrences. Bombs were thrown to his Kumkapi headquarters and he was assigned body guards. He was living in a state of siege.

In his turn, the Patriarch tried to ingratiate himself, trying to prove that he was one of them. He took trips to European capitals to plead on behalf of the Turkish government that there was indeed religious freedom in Turkey, when actually Armenians and other minorities survived under a most repressive regime. He even crossed the line by attending denialists’ seminars to disprove facts about the genocide. He publicly insulted His Holiness Karekin I, supreme spiritual head of the Armenian Church, and he launched a lawsuit against the AGBU. In short, he resorted to all kinds of acts to please the Turkish authorities and the public, sometimes to the detriment of Armenian interests.

But every time he visited Ankara to stop the confiscation of the Armenian community assets or to plead a case, he was given the runaround, with no results.

The Ergenekon investigation came to prove that all his efforts were futile and there was a true plot to murder him. A detailed plan was divulged, which indicated that 12 killers were assigned to carry out the plot. The patriarch’s movements were under surveillance, and at an arranged date they were supposed to carry out their task. One group would open fire as a diversion while another would target him in the ensuing mayhem.

The Turkish journalist Erkam Toufan gives more revealing details in his online column, titled, “Haber – 7.”

“Patriarch Mutafian is an intellectual, in addition to his capacity as a spiritual leader. He is a person who maintains that Armenians and Turks have to live peacefully. If necessary, he can also challenge the Diaspora Armenians. He belongs to this land. He even has taken active role in appearing in documentary films promoting Turkey. It is indeed an act becoming Ergenekon to eliminate this kind of valuable individual.

The prosecution has a third case against Ergenekon where Patriarch Mutafian has been presented as a victim. However, it is doubtful that the patriarch can take the witness stand. Two years ago he suddenly got ill. A man who had been like a rock collapsed and he withdrew from the day-to-day operations of his office. He was suffering from early dementia. Unfortunately, his health is in rapid deterioration.

His memory fades on a daily basis. Still maintaining his office as a Patriarch, he is not capable to perform.

“I already had my suspicious that some foul play should have struck this man of wisdom who through his cool head advocated dialogue and he proved to be an asset for Turkey. I suspected all along that something must have been mixed in his food and drink. This third accusation comes to reinforce my earlier suspicions.

“Perhaps some people will caution me against such conspiracy theories. But we live in a country where some dark forces can commit any crime.

“Yes, indeed. The discovered arms caches, assassination plots, actual murders, whispers about a coup d’etat, and plans to poison army generals indicate that everything is possible in this country.

“This brings me to the conclusion that it is possible that a similar assassination has already been executed against Patriarch Mutafian.”

When the Turks themselves confess, nothing remains for us to add.

Unfortunately, Patriarch Mutafian’s mental condition is irreversible; he cannot now understand that it is immaterial how you behave to win over Turks, no matter what kind of indignation you may be ready to undergo in order to appease the fanatical mind of Turkish extremists, some of whom still survive in the Turkish government apparatus.

We hope, at least, that lesson will serve well his successors.