"We need to create a Turkey that is loved, not feared”
Respected journalist Mihail Vasiliadis in Turkey has spoken out against the escalating tensions involving the Sumela Monastery in Northern Turkey, where a religious ceremony has stirred a nationwide debate, while advocating for a Turkey that is cherished and respected rather than feared.
The threats looming over the religious ceremony at the Sumela Monastery prompted reactions from various political and religious figures. The ceremony, which takes place on August 15, marks the day of the Assumption of Mary in Christian faith. This event holds special significance at the Sumela Monastery, situated in the picturesque region of Trabzon. But both the New Welfare Party and the Good Party have called for the cancellation of this year's ceremony, on the grounds that the date coincides with the anniversary of the conquest of Trabzon in the 16th century by the Turks.
Vasiliadis expressed his concern over the threats directed towards the religious ceremony and said that overcoming challenges cannot be achieved through intimidation and threats, asserting that such actions are detrimental to the nation.
in an interview with Artı TV's Musa Ozugurlu, he stressed that resorting to threats is an ineffective approach and that such actions harm the nation. "Creating a Turkey that is loved and respected, rather than feared, is essential," Vasiliadis declared.
He added: "(They say) While Western Thrace bleeds, these individuals are attempting to sow discord within our own country. Just as our rights and values are crucial, so are the rights of the minority in Western Thrace. If the population of 9,000 Greeks in Imbros and the over 150,000 Greeks in Istanbul have dwindled to 1,800, did this happen without bloodshed? Were there no tears shed? These people were sent abroad with a 20-kilogram suitcase and 20 dollars. They were supposed to remain in Turkey based on the 1930 Agreement signed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This agreement contained rights and responsibilities that surpassed even the agreements binding European nations to each other."
The Sumela Monastery, perched atop a cliff in Trabzon, has a significant place in history. After an 88-year hiatus, the religious ceremony was revived in 2010, led by Patriarch Bartholomeos. The monastery underwent restoration in 2015, and since its completion, the annual ceremony has been permitted.