As reported in Hurriyet Daily News, the investigation was launched after a letter was sent from the Central Anatolia province of Kayseri, claiming that the Istanbul-based patriarch would be the target of an assassination attempt on May 29, the 560th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest by Mehmed the Conqueror.
A man was detained and police forces are searching for two others. The suspects recently arrived in Istanbul from Kayseri, police sources said.
S.A., the detained suspect, refuted the claims and said he was in Istanbul to visit his relatives and he had no intention or plan of murdering Bartholomew.
A file opened by a Kayseri prosecutor has been handed over to the Ankara public prosecutor. The investigation revealed that another letter was sent to prosecutors in 2008 claiming that S.A. was planning to murder Bartholemew.
A correspondent from the Athens and Macedonian News Agency in Constantinople reported that prosecutors are considering a link between the planned murder and the action of paramilitary organization Ergenekon, an alleged clandestine, secularist ultra-nationalist organization with possible ties to members of the country’s military and security forces and has been accused of terrorist activities.
Ergenekon is by some believed to be part of the so-called Deep State whose alleged members have been indicted on charges of plotting to foment unrest, among other things by assassinating intellectuals, politicians, judges, military staff, and religious leaders, with the ultimate goal of toppling the incumbent government.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s tenure has been characterized by inter-Orthodox cooperation, inter-Christian and inter-religious dialog, as well as by formal trips to Orthodox and Muslim countries seldom previously visited.
He has exchanged numerous invitations of Church and State dignitaries. His efforts to promote religious freedom and human rights and initiatives to advance religious tolerance among the world’s religions has been widely noted.