Turkish media are claiming that the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s chief secretary has become a member of Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), In.gr highlighted.
Indeed, Elias Bilis visited the AKP’s offices in the Fatih district of Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολις, Turkish: İstanbul) and filled out an application to become a member of the party.
The account for the AKP Fatih branch wrote on Twitter that “Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Chief Clerk Mr. Ilias Bilis […] joined our family by filling out our AK Party Membership form.”
Fener Rum Ortodoks Patrikhanesi Baş Katibi Sn. İlias Bilis ,İlçe Başkanımız Sn. @orhannarin_ 'i ziyaret etti. Ziyareti esnasında AK Parti Üyelik formumuzu doldurarak AK Parti ailemize de katıldı. Kendilerine ailemize katıldıkları için teşekkür ederiz .
— AK Parti Fatih (@akpartifatih) April 26, 2021
But what the Turkish media or the AKP do not report is that Bilis is no longer the chief secretary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
This position is now held by Grigorios Fraggakis.
Media outlets such as A Haber and the Takvim newspaper have been spreading propaganda stating that the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s chief secretary became an AKP member, without, of course, clarifying that Bilis no longer holds this position.
A Haber notes that Bilis is one of the most important religious representatives of Turkey.
The leader of the party in Constantinople, Orhan Narin, expressed satisfaction with the fact that he joined the AKP, welcoming him “to the largest Turkey’s political party” according to A Haber.
Similarly, the newspaper Takvim writes that “the chief secretary of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Fanari (Turkey refuses to characterise the Patriarchate as Ecumenical), Elias Bilis, became a member of the AKP.”