Istanbul (ANA-MPA/A.Kourkoulas) – A network of retired Turkish officers was planning the assassination of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, an inquiry by Turkish judicial authorities in the activities of a network dismantled last month, revealed.
The network was discovered following the finding of arms and explosives in Istanbul’s Umraniye district.
According to information provided by investigation authorities and published in the Aksam newpaper, in the personal computer data of the President of the “Association of National Forces” Bekir Ozturk, were found data from preparations of the Patriarch’s assassination.
It was noted that the public prosecutorʼs office has demanded an increase in security measures from the Security General Directorate to protect Mutafyan, Bartholomew and Alaton.
After finding 27 hand grenades and other explosives in a slum house in the Ümraniye district of İstanbul, the security forces went on to raid Kuvva-i Milliye offices in Ankara, Konya, Bursa and Balıkesir over the past week. A total of five people, including Öztürk, have now been arrested in connection with the investigation. -ArmRadio
The assassinations of Armenian Patriarch Mesrop Mutafian and businessman Isaak Alaton were also planned by the same organization. Alaton’s partner was murdered some time ago in the Istanbul district of Eyioup.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has been the target of many attacks by grenades in the past. An organization named IBDA has assumed responsibility for the attacks.
Greece on Thursday described as “positive” the fact that the Turkish authorities had succeeded in disbanding an extremist organization.
“The fact that the Turkish authorities had a success with respect to the disbanding of extremist organizations, whose existence and action are exceptionally dangerous, is positive,” foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said, replying to a question regarding press reports concerning an assassination plan against the Ecumenical Patriarch.
“We are monitoring and assessing every development and all information concerning the smooth fulfillment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s mission, its status, and above all the safety of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarch, and are taking all the necessary actions to confront negative developments in the implementation of a declared position that the issue is an international one, but at the same time one of special interest to Greece,” he said.
Koumoutsakos said that the safety of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in particular, is an issue that is being put forward continuously both by the Greek government and by the Ecumenical Patriarchate itself.