Turkish authorities are investigating an alleged plot to assassinate Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople,spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians.An anonymous letter sent to the state prosecutor's office in Kayseri reportedly tipped authorities off about the scheme.
Turkish media said one arrest was made and two other people were being sought in connection with the plot.Once the media broke the story,Turkish police contacted the Patriarch about it and dispatched more officers to the Phanar,the patriarchal compound in Istanbul that has been the target of extremist protestors in the past.
New US Secretary of State John Kerry met the Patriarch in late April during a swing through the region.He conferred with the patriarch,who then gave Kerry a tour of the premises,including an historic cathedral.
The Patriarch's life has been threatened in Turkey at least once before.As well,in 2006 a Catholic bishop was stabbed to death in Southern Turkey by his driver,and in 2006 a Catholic priest was killed by a teenager with suspected extremist ties in Trabzon,Turkey.There are about 100,000 Christians in the Muslim nation of 76,000,000 people.
The Patriarch's representative in America,Archbishop Demetrios,wrote a letter to President Barack Obama about the situation,pleading with the President to use his good offices to ensure the Patriarch's security.Turkey is a close military ally of the United States,which operates Incerlik Air Base there.