President Gul Hosts Leaders of Turkey’s Minority Foundations in Istanbul

The visit bears significance since the leaders have been invited together for the first time.

By Vercihan Ziflioglu

An Alevi federation criticizes a fast-breaking dinner that brings together President Gul and another Alevi group for misrepresenting the nation’s Alevi community.

The leaders of Turkey’s eight minority foundations have been hosted for the first time at the presidential summer compound in the history of the Turkish republic. The visit was significant, as it represented the first time the leaders of minority communities together have hosted at the president summer compound in the history of the Turkish Republic.

The strongest cases at the meeting would belong to three Syriac foundations, according to information Hurriyet Daily News Gather from Syriac Catholic Foundation head Zeki Basdemir and Midyat Syrica Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation head Kuryakos Ergun before the meeting.

The Catholic Syrian group planned to put forward its readiness to relocate the Church’s Patriarchate in Beirut to Turkey, and demand the return of their historical Patriarchate building in Mardin, which has been turned into a museum.

In previous months, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held a series of negotiations with Syriacs on the topic, and proposed bringing the Beirut and Damascus Patriarchates to Turkey.


Ergun said his foundation would express its reaction to a Court of Appeals decision describing the monastery as an “invader” and demand support from Gul.

During the meeting, which was planned to be 45 minutes but took about 1.5 hours, Gul paid great attention to the problems communicated but didn’t make any remarks about any problems, Hurriyet Daily News has learned.

The Syriac foundations also demanded the return of their historical patriarchate building in Mardin, which has been turned into a museum.

Other minority leader also brought expectations regarding citizenship rights to the table.

Yedikule Surp Pirgic, Armenian Hospital Foundation President Bedros Sirinoglu also joined the meeting to represent Armenian foundations.

“We have already been speaking about our problems generally with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Edorgan and deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, so instead of repeating our problems to the president, we wanted to express our regards for his support of the Minority Foundations law,” he said.

Laki Vingas, a council member of the Foundations Directorate General and the organizer of the meeting, told the Daily News the meeting had been held under very good conditions, the leader of minorities expressed their gratitude for the Foundations Law and return of properties and they spoke about education problems.

In addition to Sirinoglu and Vingas, Syriac Catholic leader Bernard Saribay, Syriac Kadim Foundation representative Sait Susin, Greek Foundation representative Sami Herman, and Bulgarian community representative Vasil Liyaze attended the meeting.

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