The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and its status has been one of the key issues in the Turkish-Greek relations since the Lausanne Treaty of
The period under examination in this study is the interwar period. The interwar period in the Turkish-Greek relations provides a good case for understanding the direction of the relationship between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Turkish-Greek relations in general. Between 1923 and 1930,
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in the 1923-1930 period
After due deliberations, it was finally decided that the Patriarchate would remain in Istanbul with the stipulation that it would stay out of politics and engage itself with religious matters only. This arrangement did not, however, "set the Cross and Crescent in
Gregorios VII succeeded Meletios IV on
In the meantime, the Turkish government abolished the caliphate in March 1924. Therefore, some segments of the Turkish press demanded that the Patriarchate should be suppressed as well. Nonetheless, the Turkish government left Gregorios alone and the Patriarch "achieved the feat, equaled by few of his predecessors in his holy office, of dying in harnessâ on
Meanwhile, the etablis question was not resolved, yet. The etablis question was one of the most serious problems that the Mixed Exchange Commission had faced since the beginning of the implementation of the exchange. Article 2 of the exchange convention of
The difference between the Turkish and Greek interpretations of etablis brought about a very serious crisis between
The Turkish authorities argued that
Judging by past experience, neither side expects that the Commission of the
The Mixed Commission delivered its decision on
The Mixed Commission, while noting the facts contained in the report of the Sixth Sub-Committee, No. 2360, dated December 17th, 1924, in regard to the possibility of exchanging Mgr. Constantine Arapoglou, former Metropolitan of Dercos, according to which Mgr. Constantine Arapoglou, having been born in Asia Minor and having gone to Constantinople after October 30th, 1918, fulfilled in his person all the conditions necessary for the purpose of the exchange, holds that it is beyond its competence to take a decision in regard to the case of this ecclesiastic in view of the fact that he is a Metropolitan.
On 30 January, the Turkish authorities expelled the Patriarch from
An exchange of notes and declarations between the Turkish and Greek governments began. The Turkish case was simply that the Patriarch was exchangeable and therefore he had to be exchanged. The Turkish government was carrying out a decision taken by the Mixed Commission by expelling Arapoglou. The Greek government claimed that the
The details of the rest of the exchange of notes between the Turkish and Greek governments will not be discussed here. What is significant here is that the Turkish insistence on legitimizing the expulsion of Constantine Arapoglou on the grounds that he was exchangeable seems to be related with its stand on the etablis question which was still unresolved. If an exchangeable metropolitan was elected Patriarch and the Turkish government did not prevent, or at least protest this action, it could set a precedent for other members of the Greek Orthodox community in
Alexis Alexandris argued that Turkish action was a compromise and he attributed this to several factors, such as Ankaraâs occupation with the Sheikh Said revolt in Eastern Anatolia, and foreign policy concerns like Mosul and Alexandretta. However, as he himself admits it was also a gain for
Turkish-Greek Reconciliation of 1930 and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
In this section, the effect of the Turkish-Greek rapprochement over the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate will be examined. First, the immediate effect just after the treaties were signed in June and October 1930 will be discussed. Then, two cases in the post-1930 period will be analyzed as to show how the favorable atmosphere that was created by the reconciliation could prevent the Turkish and Greek governments from letting the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate strain their relations. The first case is the Turkish ban on the costumes of clergy of all religious denominations. And the second case is a patriarchal election in 1936. It will be argued that these two events might have easily troubled relations between
During Venizelosâ visit to
Venizelos came to
On 1 November, on his way back from
Fotios II benefited to a great extent from the Turkish-Greek rapprochement. He was committed to drawing the various Orthodox churches into a closer spiritual union and did much to reestablish the dignity of his throne. Thus in 1930 he convened a Pan-Orthodox conference at
Fotios II died in December 1935. His reign passed with relative tranquility in terms of the Turkish-Greek relations. Finding a successor favorable to both
Turkish Ban on the Costumes of Clergymen
The first Patriarchate-related case that tested the Turkish-Greek rapprochement was the Turkish ban on costumes of clergymen. On
Aldridge, the American Charge dâAffaires in
The Greek press expressed its indignation rather violently. In addition, dramatic resolutions were passed, mass meetings of protest were planned, and the Vice-President of the Turkish-Greek League of Amity resigned. The Greek government, reflecting the state of general confusion, rushed into various cabinet meetings, drafted representations in the name of Turkish-Greek friendship and announced that it would call a meeting of political party leaders to deliberate over the situation. Aldridge wrote that Maximos resented the fact that he was not informed about the Turkish governmentâs intentions on this matter when he was in
In connection with why the Turkish government did not provide the Greek government with any advance information regarding the law forbidding all ecclesiastical garments, MacVeagh, the American Ambassador in
In the meantime, when it was reported that the government would call a meeting of the political party leaders, Venizelos announced that he would communicate his opinion to the government in the form of a written memorandum. However, the meeting of the party leaders did not take place and Venizelos did not express his opinion with a written memorandum as he said. A few days later, Venizelos sent a statement to the Greek press advising acceptance of the Turkish position. He argued that the Turkish government was not inspired by any animosity towards Greek clergy. It was merely carrying out its policy of a secular state. Furthermore,
Aldridge reported to
In all fairness to
The Election of Benjamin I
The second Patriarchate-related case that tested the Turkish-Greek rapprochement was the Patriarchal election in 1936. Fotios II had died in December 1935 and new elections were held for the patriarchal throne.
On 16 January 1936, the Metropolitan of Heraclea was elected Patriarch of Istanbul under the name of Benjamin I. Howland Shaw, the American Charge dâAffaires in Turkey, reported to Washington that for nearly ten years the Patriarchate had been enjoying a period of relative quiet when compared to the agitation characteristic of the period from the end of the war until about 1926. However, the election of Benjamin I was reminiscent of older times, as it was accompanied by considerable agitation.
The day following the death of Fotios II, the Chief of Police of Istanbul visited the Phanar and inquired who the candidates for the vacant position were. He was told that there were thirteen Metropolitans, all members of the Holy Synod, anyone of whom might be elected. In the meantime, the Greek press began to refer to the inevitability of the election of the Metropolitan of Chalcedon, who was favored by the Greek government. The metropolitan, a protĂ©gĂ© of Fotios II, was known to have support of seven of the other members of the Holy Synod. The remaining five each considered himself a candidate.
In Turkish government circles the candidacy of the Metropolitan of Chalcedon was not regarded with favor. He was one of the most active protestors against the bill prohibiting the wearing of ecclesiastical garments. It is understood from the correspondence between the American legation in
At this instance, a telegram was sent to the Holy Synod from the Greek government suggesting that the Metropolitan of Imbros be elected. The Greek government had not originally favored the Metropolitan of Imbros, and this telegram created a tremendous confusion in the Holy Synod. The Metropolitan of Chalcedon, supported by his seven followers, contended that neither the Turkish nor the Greek governments should interfere and that the Patriarchate should take an independent stand. They considered the Metropolitan of Imbros to be too weak to be a suitable Patriarch and too much amenable to the wishes of the Turkish government. On the other hand, the five remaining members of the Holy Synod, though they failed to unite behind the Metropolitan of Imbros, were apparently more inclined toward the inauguration of a regime of greater cooperation with the
On the day of the election a considerable crowd gathered outside the Phanar vociferously demanding the election of the Metropolitan of Imbros. While the crowd grew more restive, the announcement was made that the Metropolitan of Heraclea got most of the votes and was elected as the new Patriarch. Neither the metropolitan that was initially favored by the Greek government nor one of those implied by
The Turkish and Greek governmentsâ attitude during the crises of Turkish ban on costumes of clergymen in 1934 and patriarchal elections in 1936 reveal that the governments did not want to risk their newly achieved good-neighborly relations for the patriarchate-related matters. Especially the Greek government faced a difficult task in persuading the Greek public opinion that friendly relations with
* Bestami Sadi BILGIC: Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Department of International Relations, Turkey.
 See Harry N. Howard, The Partition of Turkey: A Diplomatic History 1913-1923 (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1931); George Frederick Abbott, Greece and the Allies 1914-1922 (London: 1922); Michael Llewellyn Smith, Ionian Vision: Greece in Asia Minor 1919-1922 (New York: St. Martinâs Press, 1973); Harry Psomiades, The Eastern Question: The Last Phase; A Study in Greek-Turkish Diplomacy (Thessalonica: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1968); Andrew, Prince of Greece. Towards Disaster; the Greek Army in Asia Minor in 1921 (London: 1930); A. A. Pallis, Greeceâs Anatolian Venture and After; A Survey of the Diplomatic and Political Aspects of the Greek Expedition to Asia Minor, 1915-1922 (London: 1937); Salahi Ramadan Sonyel, Turkish Diplomacy 1918-1923: Mustafa Kemal and the Turkish National Movement (London: Sage Publications, c.1975). Also see See Haluk Ulman, "Türk Dış Politikasına YĂ¶n Veren Etkenler, 1923-1968â [The Directing Factors of Turkish Foreign Policy], Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Dergisi, 23, (1968) pp. 241-273; Mehmet GĂ¶nlübol and Cem Sar, "1919-1938 Yılları Arasında Türk Dış Politikasıâ [Turkish Foreign Policy in 1919-1938] in Olaylarla Türk Dış Politikası (Ankara: 1987) pp.55-63.
 Ibid.; NADS 767.68115/143, 15 October 1930; also see the letter from Lord Curzon to London, 10 January 1923 cited in Lozan Telgraflari [The Lausanne Telegrams] Vol.1 (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu: 1990) p. 362, in which he mentioned the refusal of the Turkish delegation to agree to retention of Greek Orthodox population of Istanbul except at the price of the abolition of Greek Patriarchate.
 Lausanne Conference on Near Eastern Affairs, 1922-1923, pp. 316-317, 324-325 and 332-333; Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol II, p. 26; M. Cemil Bilsel, Lozan, Vol. II (Istanbul: Sosyal Yayınlar) p. 296; Philip Marshall Brown, "The Lausanne Conferenceâ in American Journal of International Law, Vol. 17 Issue 2 (April 1923) p. 291. Also see the telegram from İsmet Pasha to the Presidency of the Council of Minister,
 See Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol II, pp. 267-268.
 See Elçin Macar, Cumhuriyet DĂ¶neminde İstanbul Rum Patrikhanesi [The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in the Republican Era] (İstanbul: İletişim, 2003), pp. 117-118; Harry Psomiades, "The Ecumenical Patriarchate Under the
 National Archives Military Intelligence Division,
 Ibid.; Macar, op. cit., pp. 118-119 According to Psomiades, these were followers of schismatic Papa Efthim who strove to show their allegiance to the
 NAMID. 2987
 The adherents of this church maintained that they were Christianized Turks. For detailed information on the Turkish Orthodox Church, see Teoman Ergene, İstiklal Harbinde Türk Ortodoksları [Turkish Orthodox During the War of Independence] (
 Psomiades, "The Ecumenical Patriarchate,â p. 54; Grigorios Dafni, I Ellas Metaksi Dio Polemon [
 Psomiades, "The Ecumenical Patriarchate,â p. 54; Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol II, p.268.
 Psomiades, "The Ecumenical Patriarchate,â p. 54.; Also see The Times,
 For a discussion of the popular demands for removal of the Patriarchate see Macar, op. cit., p. 125.
 Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol II, p. 268.
 The exchange convention of January 1923 established a Mixed Exchange Commission consisting of four members representing each of the signatory governments and three neutral states appointed by the
 T.C. Disisleri Bakanligi, Türkiye Dış Politikasında 50. Yıl: Cumhuriyetin İlk On Yılı ve Balkan Paktı: 1923-1934 [Fiftieth Year in the Turkish Foreign Policy: the First Ten Years of the Republic and the Balkan Pact], (
 Survey of International Affairs 1925, pp. 260-261.
 Ibid. p. 262
 Ibid., p.269; Alexis Alexandris, "The Expulsion of Constantine IV: The Ecumenical Patriarchate and Greek Turkish Relations, 1924-25" in Balkan Studies, Vol. 22, 1981, p. 337; Macar, op. cit., pp. 128-129; The Times, 17 December 1924, 18 December 1924, 19 December 1924.
 Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol II, p. 269; Alexandris; "The Expulsion of Constantine VI,â pp. 337-338.
 Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol. II, p. 269.
 Ibid., p. 269; Alexandris, "The Expulsion of Constantine VIâ, p. 338.
 Quoted in NAMID. No.2657-T-416/1 6 January 1925 from dispatch No.1428,
 League of Nations, Official Journal, April 1925, p.483; Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol. II, pp. 269-270; Psomiades, "The Ecumenical Patriarchateâ, p. 59.
 Alexandris, "The Expulsion of Constantine VI,â p. 344; Macar, op. cit., p. 130.
 Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol. II , p.270; Alexandris, "The Expulsion of Constantine VI,â pp. 344-347; Psomiades, "The Ecumenical Patriarchateâ, p. 60; Dafni, op. cit., p. 271.
 Psomiades, "The Ecumenical Patriarchateâ, p. 60.
Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol. II, p.270; Macar, op. cit., p. 131.
 Macar, op. cit., p. 131; Psomiades, "The Ecumenical Patriarchateâ p. 60; Alexandris, "The Expulsion of Constantine VI,â pp. 348-349.
 Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol. II, p.270; Alexandris, "The Expulsion of Constantine VIâ, p.348; Macar, op. cit., pp. 132-133.
 Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol. II, p. 270; Macar, op. cit., p. 132.
 For the details of this exchange of declarations, see Macar, op. cit., pp. 132-135; League of Nations Official Journal, April 1925, p. 579-581.
 Alexandris, "The Expulsion of Constantine VI,â p. 357.
 For the Turkish approaches towards the members of the Holy Synod, see Ibid., pp.357-358; Macar, op. cit., p. 136.
 Survey of International Affairs 1925, Vol II, p. 272.
 Ibid.; NAMID. No. 2657-T-436
 Alexandris, "The Expulsion of Constantine VI,â p. 358.
 From Skinner to the Secretary of State, Athens, 25 October 1930, National Archives Records of the Department of State, College Park, MD (NADS) 767.68/684.
 Ibid.; Cumhuriyet,
 NADS 767.68/684,
 Ifigeneia Anastasiadou, O Venizelos kai to Ellinotourkiko Symfono Filias tou 1930 [Venizelos and the Turkish-Greek Accord of 1930] (Athina, 1982) p. 68.
 Messager dâAthenes,
 Alexandris, The Greek Minority of
 Ibid. p. 194.
 Ibid., p. 197.
 Ibid., p. 204.
 Dustur, Tertip:3, Cilt: 16, p. 24; Michael P. Langley, "Social Reforms in
 From Aldridge to the Secretary of State,
 From MacVeagh to the Secretary of State,
 NADS. 867.405/9
 "Mia ekklisis pros tin Turkianâ, Eleftheron Vima,
 Eleftheron Vima,
 Eleftheron Vima,
 NADS. 867.405/9,
 From Shaw to the Secretary of State,
 Alexandris, Greek Minority of
 From Shaw to the Secretary of State,
 Ibid.; Alexandris, Greek Minority of
 NADS. 767.68/730,
 Psomiades, "The Ecumenical Patriarchate,â p. 69.