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John Kerry meets EP, urges Turkey to re-open Halki

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
     http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_22/04/2013_495091     US Secretary of State Kerry meets Patriarch Vartholomaios, urges Turkey to
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 22, 2013
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       http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_22/04/2013_495091
       
       

      US Secretary of
      State Kerry meets Patriarch Vartholomaios, urges Turkey to re-open Halki
      Seminary

      US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Turkey on Sunday to re-open Orthodox
      clergy schools near Istanbul that authorities have kept closed for more than 40
      years.
       
      "It is our hope that the Halki seminary will open,» Kerry said during a press
      conference in Istanbul after two days of talks on the Syrian crisis and the
      Mideast peace process.
       
      Kerry said he discussed religious freedom in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey and
      the possible re-opening of the theological schools in talks with Turkish Foreign
      Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
       
      The Halki seminary, where Orthodox clergy used to train, is located on an
      island off Istanbul and was closed in 1971, after Turkey fell out with Greece
      over Cyprus.
       
      Kerry also met on Sunday the Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the
      spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians.
       
      Both the United States and the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join,
      have increased pressure on Ankara to re-open the seminary as well as introducing
      further rights for religious minorities in the new constitution it is currently
      drafting.
       
      Ankara says it is also in favour of such a move but cites procedural issues
      for the delay in implementing it.
       
      Vartholomaios told Kerry that the Turkish government had improved its
      treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate recently.
       
      “Over the last few months and years, there has been progress in the
      government’s behaviour towards the Patriarchate and more generally towards
      minorities,” he said.
       
      “Of course, within this framework, we expect solutions to our existing
      problems, such as the re-opening of the Halki Seminary, which is a great need
      for our Patriarchate, for its present and future.”
      [AFP & Kathimerini English
      Edition]

      ekathimerini.com , Monday April 22, 2013 (10:10)

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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