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June 24, 2006

Islamic tolerance in TURKEY: ARMENIAN PATRIARCH’S VISIT SPARKS PROTESTS

Filed under: Global Jihad, Islam, Terror, Tyrkiet — limewoody @ 8:45 am

Istanbul, 21 June (AKI) – The first vist to Turkey by the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin II, has triggered protests by ultra-nationalist and Islamist Turkish groups. Karekin II, who on Tuesday evening arrived in Istanbul from the Armenian capital, Yerevan, was met by a group of some 50 people mainly from ultra-nationalist groups waving Turkish and flags and holding a banner with the words: "We won't let any Christian clergyman into our homeland!"

Police took four of the demonstrators into custody while the cleric left the airport through a back exit.

Karenkin has angered Turkish nationalists by issuing statements saying that the Turks committed genocide against Armenians around the time of World War I.

Turkey accepts thousands of Armenians died at the hands of Ottoman forces, but says this was not a state conspiracy to kiil them. It says that attacks against Turkish troops by Armenian partisans backed by the Russians in Turkey's eastern fringes forced the Ottoman rulers to round up and deport en masse the Armenian population to Syria as a means to prevent them from providing support to the partisans. Thousands died of disease and other hardships during the forced marches.

Most Armenians and many historians argue that Turkey carried out a planned slaughter of the Armenians to clear their territories for Turkish occupation.

Discussing the Armenian genocide in Turkey can land in trouble those who do so – a situation that has resulted in several high profile court cases involving journalists and authors who have called on Turkey to confront its past. The European Union has repeatedly criticised the legal proceedings as an example of intolerance and lack of freedom of expression in Turkey.

Karekin II who is expected to leave Turkey on 27 June on Wednesday met, under heavy security, Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos I and attended a religious ceremony.

Karekin II will meet with Armenian society tomorrow. He will also visit Hagia Triada

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