Proper conditions needed for Halki reopening, says Turkish Deputy PM
Certain conditions must be in place before the Halki Greek Orthodox seminary on Istanbul’s Heyebeliada island can reopen, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said. AA photoCertain conditions must be in place before the Halki Greek Orthodox seminary on Istanbul’s Heyebeliada island can reopen, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said, while indicating that the issue is not included in a coming democratization package.
“We will take the necessary steps [for the reopening of Halki Seminary] when certain local and international conditions are constituted,” Arınç told NTV today on the status of the long-closed school that has been the subject of an ongoing debate for years.
On March 5, Arınç said Halki should be reopened to educate clerics for the Orthodox community, saying “minorities have the same rights as us” while speaking at a conference in Berlin.
The seminary was closed in 1971 on the grounds of a law banning private higher education institutions.
Alternative formula possible for Mor Gabriel
Arınç also said an alternative formula could be found for the status of the Mor Gabriel Monastery, a 1,700-year-old historic monastery located in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Midyat district.
The monastery, which was declared last year to be “occupying land” by a court following a lawsuit opened by the Forestry Ministry, the Land Registry Cadaster Office and the villages of Yayvantepe, Çandarlı and Eğlence, is demanding land from the government that it says rightly belongs to the religious facility.
“We have to apply the law on the matter but an alternative formula could resolve the problem,” Arınç said, while acknowledging that Syriacs constitute a part of the country.