Orthodox Ukraine appeals to wisdom of Turkish authorities
A mass rally took place on October 14 in Kiev in protest against the opening of church representations of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine and Fanar’s interference in the Ukrainian church affairs. Thousands-strong rallies were held at the Turkish embassy, as well as the Supreme Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Presidential Administration. Special appeals were adopted, addressed to the Ukrainian president and the Turkish and Greek ambassadors.
Why to Victor Yushchenko is clear enough. The government has promoted the project for opening the Constantinopolitan church representations and interfered in church affairs, pressing for the absorption of the unrecognized UAOC group by the uncanonical ‘Kievan Patriarchate’, and all this despite the president’ promises that the government will not interfere in church affairs. All in all, it is not a nice business: either the president has been set up or he himself has failed to keep his promise. The demonstrators’ demand that Yushchenko and other state officials leave the Ukrainian Church in peace and not open Fanar’s representations in Ukraine is quite logic. The more so that the consequences of this action for Ukraine herself can be very regrettable, while the world Orthodoxy will find itself plunged into a global crisis.
It is not quite clear whether the designers and executors of this project are incompetent people ignorant of religious problems or they want to cause damage to the Orthodox Church deliberately, disregarding even the interest of Ukraine herself and millions of her believers. Then whose interests do they pursue? Or may be they understand Ukrainian interests in this peculiar way, acting on the principle ‘the worse the better’?
Against this background the appeal to the Turkish authorities made through the Turkish ambassador appears to be quite an original move. Apparently, people do not believe in the willingness of Ukrainian officials to listen to their opinion and change their policy. Then an opportunity for influencing the situation can be found in conveying an appropriate to the Turkish government. One would think why Turkey - Because in fact Patriarch Bartholomew does not simply resides in Istanbul, but he is also a Turkish subject, and this means he has certain duties and obligations before the Turkish State. And if his actions come into a stark contradiction with the interests of the Turkish State and cast a shadow on Turkey as a whole and on the Turkish people, the government will certainly have to take certain measures.
‘How long will Patriarch Bartholomew spoil relations between the Slavic and Turkish peoples?’ ask the demonstrators in their appeal to the Turkish authorities to prevent the opening of the Patriarch of Constantinople’s representations in Ukraine, to put an end to his interference in Ukrainian affairs. And if Patriarch Bartholomew is not stopped, then, the participants in the rally declare, they will have to call upon people in Ukraine, Byelorussia, Russia and other countries to boycott Turkish resorts and goods and to raise difficulties to Turkish companies in their work.
One should think there is no point in reminding how important the role of tourism is for the Turkish budget and businessmen. As is known, a considerable portion of tourists come to Turkey from Ukraine, Byelorussia and Russia. Trade with these countries and various energy and construction projects are also of great importance for Turkish economy. Especially important for the Turkish economy is of course the Russian segment of tourist services consumers. Without doubt, the appeal from Kiev will be heard in good time and understood adequately in Russia.
Accordingly, the question is whether the Turkish government will have enough resolution, will and resources to influence Patriarch Bartholomew. Indeed, there is already some talk that he dreams of establishing a kind of Orthodox Vatican in Fanar and obtaining the exterritorial right from the Turkish authorities. But still, the potential appeal to boycott Turkish resorts and goods appears quite telling for the Turkish interests. With an effective informational support this action may inflict millions-worth damages on the economy of this country. Thus, theoretically Turkey may become directly interested in putting her citizen in his right place as a one who causes damage to her relations with the countries which make up the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate.