Municipality abolishes plan for Muslim graveyard next to Halki Seminary

The İstanbul Municipality has announced that it has abolished a plan to turn an unoccupied »»

The İstanbul Municipality has announced that it has abolished a plan to turn an unoccupied plot of land next to the Greek Orthodox Seminary on Heybeliada in the Sea of Marmara into a Muslim graveyard.

The announcement came after the Aya Triada Monastery Foundation applied to the municipality for the abolishment of the plan, saying that a Muslim graveyard next to the seminary might lead to “irreparable problems” between the Christian and Muslim communities of Turkey. The municipality instead has decided to open the land to public use as a green area.

The seminary, which is also called the Halki Seminary, is often a source of controversy and criticism for Turkey. Turkey closed the seminary to new students in 1971 during a period of tension with Greece over Cyprus and a crackdown on religious education, which also included Muslim religious schools. The Turkish government is under European Union pressure to reopen the seminary.

According to the foundation, it would not be pleasant to construct a Muslim graveyard next to the seminary, which is visited by hundreds of foreign and domestic tourists every year. The foundation had applied to the İstanbul General Directorate for Foundations in 2009 and asked the directorate to donate the unoccupied land next to the seminary to the foundation. The directorate has not made a decision on the request yet.

2012-05-16

National