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Turkey: Reopen Halki Seminary? Reciprocal Move, First!

That’s the usual Turkish tactic when it comes to diplomacy: reciprocacy above all! It was just two days ago, when Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan announced to US President Barack Obama his decision to reopen the Theological School of Halki. On Tuesday, Turkish EU Minister Egemen Bagis came out to make things clear: Equal right for the muslim minority on Thrace, which in Turkish standards mean among others: opening a school in Thrace to train imams.

 EU Minister Egemen Bağış said yesterday that the re-opening of Halki Seminary on Istanbul’s Heybeliada Island would not pose a threat to Turkey, adding that he hopes Greece would also take positive steps, keeping their responsibilities in mind.

“I don’t see the re-opening of the Halki Seminary on Heybeliada Island as a threat to Turkey. I believe that it will enrich Turkey,” Bağış told reporters following a meeting with the Turkish Contractors Union.

“Turkey has taken very important steps in this matter,” said Bağış, pointing out that 10 years ago, it would have been unimaginable to re-open the seminary, return property to minorities, or hold a meeting with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew in Parliament.

“However, it is time for Greece — a democracy by EUstandards — to take their responsibilities into consideration in their actions. Even if it isn’t on the principle of reciprocity, it would be significant if Greece took steps of good will,” Bağış said, emphasizing that neither GreekPresident Karolos Papoulias, nor Prime Minister George Papandreou, have kept the promises they have made to Turkey. 

“We hope that the problems of our Muslim brothers and sisters living in western Thrace, as well as the problems of our Orthodox citizens in Turkey, are solved,” Bağıs added. (Hurriyet Daily News)

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  1. Let’s post a question to Minister Egemen Bağış. Count the functioning mosques in Thrace & compare the number to the Orthodox churches holding services in Constantinople/Istanbul. Compare the schools teaching Arabic in Thrace to those teaching Greek in Constantinople/Istanbul. Shall we consider the number of Muslim shopkeepers in Thrace compared to the Greek Orthodox shopkeepers in Constantinople/Istanbul. Please understand Minister Egemen Bağış, no one is demanding anything new to exist, only for the continuation of what should be.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      Minister Bagis will most probably answer: your people “synostistikan” at the borders to leave Istanbul, while our people did not. sorry for the sarcasm but that’s the fruit of lacking policies on the side of Greece on the issue. Unfortunately, Turkey was sticks to reciprocal moves, while Greece never did.