RIGHTS > Religious leaders meet at the Greek Patriarchate for historic visit


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The head of Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, Mehmet Görmez, has given a statement supporting the idea of opening seminary after visiting the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate today.

"We should not need other countries to educate clerics," Görmez told to reportes after the historic meeting.

Reopening of Halki Seminary on government's agenda

The Turkish government has given the green light to reopen Istanbul’s Halki Seminary amid a visit by the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate today, daily Radikal reported.

Objecting to the reopening of the seminary is both inhumane and against Islam, Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman and former Education Minister Hüseyin Çelik said.

"Closing Halki Seminary was a mistake, not opening it is another. There is no legal hitch [preventing it from being] opened. It is a right," the minister said.

Çelik also invited Turkey’s pious Muslims to empathize with non-Muslims, citing the current situation in Europe where there are several mosques, Islamic schools and societies.


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7/6/2012 4:58:19 PM

It is very encouraging that the head of the religious directorate would advocate religious freedom and justice. We can only be ashamed of and help educate those that would tolerate injustice towards any religious group because other goverments do it. Turkey needs to be a leader of jusice and not a follower of injustice.

mara mcglothin

7/6/2012 4:31:22 PM

KENAN In America our officials are sworn in on a Bible because most are Christians, but I would venture to guess that our muslim representatives have the freedom to hold the Quran for this ceremony if they so choose. I think these guys were really getting together to go over plans for the big new church just next door to the "super mosque" in Camlica.

kerem atan

7/6/2012 1:26:56 PM

i mean more secular*

kerem atan

7/6/2012 11:47:17 AM

@adam orman what kinds of clothes do u expect the religious leaders to wear? ur comment is irrelevant to the subject.Bartholomew is not in suits either.both clerics are having on their religious clothings.in comparision to greece, turkey is even more secure since our deputies dont take an oath on the holy books at the parliament.some european countries are still under the influence of the church.

kerem atan

7/6/2012 11:14:10 AM

once again turkey has proved how it is respectful of the beliefs of its minorities whilst greece hasnt even constructed a mosque in athens for decades and greeks will keep delaying it because of ideological reasons.the greek priests and ultra-nationalists will speak out and do all they can in order to hinder the construction of the mosque.they even consider a mosque as a threat . maybe they still fear the ottoman could revive again.greeks should get over these obsessive thoughts in my view.

adam orman

7/5/2012 10:26:41 PM

If the secular and democratic Republic of Turkiye's Directorate of Religious Affairs is a democratic and secular organization, why then does its head dress as a Muslim imam??? Could anybody answer this??? Remember secularism is the separation of religion and state, state's independence of religion, and democracy is nothing but equality and respect to human rights and freedoms including freedom of and right to religion or no religion.

Selim Bisevac

7/5/2012 9:15:47 PM

As a Muslim I encourage the re opening of the seminary and the continued inter faith dialogue. Always good to go us on our common ground not our differences. Peace and success to our Greek brothers , May Allah (God ) guide both communities to lasting understanding and peace.


7/5/2012 4:30:46 PM

As Mr. Gormez said, there is NO legal obstacle to the opening of the seminary. Patriarchate though does NOT want to have it open as a part of the Turkish school and education system and they want to operate outside of the laws of the land that apply to ALL schools of any kind. That is the problem. A solution should have been found regardless.


7/5/2012 4:21:37 PM

That's a good move, however it's more important to care about the rights of a minority when it still exists and not when it is extinct...

John Karr

7/5/2012 2:13:18 PM

I do not like going into this discussion about the minorities in the two countries, and as a Greek I realize the mistakes that have been made and are still made with respect to the muslim minority in Western Thrace, but is it very important to always remember that despite anything else there are still 150 000 muslims in W. Thrace, most of them of Turkish origin, while in Turkey the Greek minority is non-existent and many people tend to forget what was done in 1955.
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