Archons Constantine Caras and Stamatios Kartalopoulos represented the Order at the 2015 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Meeting in Warsaw, Poland. Archons Caras and Kartalopoulos had a private meeting with the State Department delegation of the United States and provided them with the most current information regarding the status of our Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, the major issues of which we are all aware, the most recent developments and current documents of the Order.
At the Discrimination Session of the OSCE, Archon Caras presented his paper outlining the discrimination faced on a daily basis by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Archon Kartalopoulos presented his paper at the Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion and Belief Session. It is worth noting that the Turkish Ambassador to the OSCE replied to both Archons at the conclusion of their remarks by first making general denials that the alleged discrimination and denial of religious freedom exist in Turkey generally and in regard to the Ecumenical Patriarchate specifically. Of interest was his additional comment that “negotiations are ongoing” regarding the reopening of Halki and that the Patriarchate is treated no better or worse than any other religious institution in Turkey.
Archons Caras and Kartalopoulos also met with the Constantinopolitan Society representative who fully supported and reiterated the concerns of the Order in his own remarks. They also met with the diplomatic delegation from Greece and conveyed the Order’s concerns for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The OSCE is the world’s largest such organization whose 56 international members and 11 partner states address issues relating to security and cooperation in all areas of society worldwide. Over 2,000 international delegates participated in the conference which took place in September 2015.