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Patriarch Mutafyan's speech cancelled over Armenian pressure?

PanARMENIAN.Net - A planned speech at a Washington university yesterday by Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan, religious leader of Turkish Armenians has been canceled.

Mesrob II, who arrived in the U.S. capital earlier in the week, was scheduled to deliver a speech called "The Impasse between Turks and Armenians Must Be Broken" at Georgetown's University's Woodstock Theological Center. But an announcement on the center's Web site said Wednesday the speech was "postponed due to logistical conflict."

Turkish Daily News reports that "the event has been cancelled following pressure on the university by U.S. Armenian groups over Partiarch's opposition to the Armenian Genocide Resolution."

Asked by reporters if his speech was canceled because of U.S. Armenian pressure, the patriarch said, "it may have been."

The Armenian National Committee of America recently sent a letter to all 535 Congressional offices regarding the upcoming visit of Patriarch Mutafyan of Constantinople.

As ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter, the letter stresses that: "the Patriarch - like the leaders of all religious minorities in Turkey - lives in constant fear of acts of discrimination and retribution by a Turkish government that actively persecutes those who speak freely on human rights and other "sensitive" issues. As a virtual hostage, the Patriarch - whose life has been threatened on many occasions - will, as has in the past, be forced to follow the Turkish government's line. It is truly shameful that Turkey has resorted to using coercion - cynically taking advantage of the concern of Patriach Mesrob for the safety of his flock - in a last ditch bid to block the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution."
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