Turkey controlled Orthodox Church files complaint against Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

A spokeswoman for Turkey's Orthodox Church, a small church, filed a legal complaint against Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, for appointing priests to churches of some Aegean islands, which she claimed are under Greek invasion, Sözcü newspaper reported on Saturday.

Spokeswoman Sevgi Erenerol said that churches had been built on six islands out of 18, which she claimed were invaded by Greece, and the patriarchate in Istanbul had appointed bishops to those churches.

Erenerol also said that as a religious institution operating in Turkey, the patriarchate had committed a crime by those appointments and she asked the Turkish prosecutors to investigate who had been paying the wages of those bishops and the new appointees' nationalities. 

The Armenian Apostolic, Greek Orthodox, and Jewish communities in Turkey are required to be Turkish citizens, according to an arrangement dating to Ottoman times. 

The Turkish government does not recognise the “Ecumenical” status of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul and treats the patriarchate as a religious institution which is serving only to Turkey’s Greek Orthodox community. 

The Turkish Orthodox Church is an unrecognised Orthodox denomination known for its ultra-nationalist views. 

Erenerol also demanded last month a criminal case to be opened against the Ecumenical Patriarchate for violating Turkish laws and intervening a conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The Russian Orthodox Church cut its ties with the church leadership in Istanbul, after the Ecumenical patriarch last month recognised the autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox church.