Halki seminary opens doors for Greek, Turkish musicians’ concert

Halki seminary opens doors for Greek, Turkish musicians’ concert

The long-closed Halki Greek Orthodox seminary on Istanbul’s Heybeliada Island will open its doors for a concert.

The clerical school, which was closed in 1971 on the grounds of a law banning private higher education institutions, is set to be the stage for a joint concert of Turkish and Greek musicians on Sept. 22.

A number of Greek musicians including Eleni Tsaligopoulou and Kostas Thomaidis, as well as Mustafa Doğan Dikman and Engin Arslan from Turkey, will sing and play at the school as part of the “Culture Journey from Greece to Turkey” events.

Pianist Yorgos Andreu and clarinetist Manos Ahalinotopulos will also come from Greece to perform. 
Fener Rum Patriarch Bartholomeos and Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neofit, who plans to visit Istanbul from Sept. 20 to 23, will also attend the concerts.

The reopening of the seminary as part of a new democracy package has been anticipated for a while now, as the government has declared that it is working on proper grounds for realizing the long-waited inauguration. 

The reopening has been postponed due to a lack of clarity over its status, as well as the principle of reciprocity with Greece, which has itself refused to allow Turkish minorities to elect their own religious officials. According to the terms of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, Turkey and Greece are bound to treat their respective minorities with reciprocal rights, meaning that every implementation regarding the Greek population in Turkey and Turks in Western Thrace should be equal.

The school had once briefly reopened to serve as an art space for an exhibition titled “Tracing Istanbul” in 2010.