18 April 2014, Friday
Today's Zaman

Greek patriarch repeats call to reopen Halki seminary

2 March 2011, Wednesday /FULYA VATANSEVER
The 40-year silence of the Halki (or Heybeliada) seminary must end, said Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, repeating a long-time demand of the patriarchate, on Monday night at the premiere of the documentary “The Silent School” commemorating the 50th anniversary of his graduation from the seminary.

Tracing the historical background of the seminary from its establishment in 1844 up to its closure by Turkish authorities in 1971 under a law that put religious and military training under state control, the documentary includes an interview with Bartholomew himself. Alluding to Turkey’s bid for European Union membership, Bartholomew said his wish was to have the school reopened. “I want the seminary to reopen, and I want its 40-year silence to come to an end,” he said. Bartholomew, who declined to answer journalists’ questions, repeated the phrase “The school should open.”

Co-produced by the Hellenic History Foundation and the Greek Radio Board (ERT), the film’s co-director, Irini Sarioglou, said the documentary was realized with the collaboration of Greek and Turkish historians. “We researched the history with objectivity,” she said. “The school is one that has been declaring its silence for 40 years. Let us now pay attention to its silent screams.”

Hrisa Arapoğlu, a member of the Greek parliament, said it was a fortunate coincidence for the 50th anniversary of Bartholomew’s graduation to coincide with his birthday. She also stressed the seminary’s importance for the Greek people. “I am certain that after watching this film we will better understand your long struggles. In terms of the silence, this will end with the further development of relations between the two nations,” she said. “The Silent School” will be re-screened at Megaron -- the Athens Concert Hall -- on April 4, 2011.

The EU and the US have frequently criticized Turkey for not reopening the Halki Greek Orthodox seminary -- which experts say is related to Turkey’s interpretation of secularism -- and failing to take measures to protect the patriarchate’s property rights. The patriarchate is an institution under the protection of international law as granted by the Lausanne Treaty. The patriarch has long complained about the status of the seminary, located on the island of Heybeliada near İstanbul, as well as other property issues. The government says it has been assessing a number of legal options to reopen the Halki seminary -- which Bartholomew says is of vital importance for the survival of the Greek Orthodox clergy.

NATIONAL  Other Titles
Suspicions remain on 21st anniversary of President Özal's death
Interior Ministry seeks to expel 20 police chiefs
Former Adana prosecutor, wife file separate complaints
Media hate speech targets Turkey's Alevis most, report reveals
Take a stroll in these İstanbul neighborhoods
Ruling party wants Erdoğan presidential bid, say party officials
Turkey to hold further talks with Twitter
Film on young victims of Dersim massacre shown in Ankara
PKK kidnaps former mayor, three people in southeastern Turkey
Exemplary democrat Turgut Özal commemorated on 21st anniversary of death
Opposition deputy: CHP will apply to Constitutional Court over dershane law
Pro-gov't dailies report conflicting news on leaked audio on Syria
‘Nonexistent' Berkin Elvan video footage found
MHP leader calls for end to polarization
Prosecutor dismisses complaint against PM and ‘Alo Fatih'
İkizdere villagers march in protest of tree massacre
American citizen returns historic work to Turkey
Prosecutor drops probe into '94 airstrike that killed 38 villagers
PM avoids suing critics of corruption out of fear ‘truth may come out'
AK Party deputies pass MİT law article-by-article despite warnings
Ministerial bureaucrats purged after being profiled by MİT
Chief ombudsman laments low implementation of KDK recommendations
Purges in police force leading to higher crime rate
AK Party government punishing reassigned police officers
Commemorations for former President Özal, supporter of Turkish schools abroad