03.05.2006 11:41

YEREVAN (YERKIR) - Turkey is not going to open the seminary of
the Constantinople Patriarchate again, stated Turkish FM Abdullah
Gul. "Licensing the seminary providing religious education runs
counter to the principle of secular order of the Turkish Republic
and its Constitution," he said.

The statement was made at a meeting of NATO FMs in Sofia. Gul reminded
that Turkish authorities earlier proposed that Constantinople Patriarch
Bartholomew to pass it to Istanbul University, but the latter refused.

Gul also said there are no limitations of religious liberty of
national minorities in Turkey. The EU, whom Turkey works to join as
a full member, and the US constantly criticize Turkey for violating
religious liberties and rights of national minorities, RIA Novosti
reports referring to the Hurriett.

We note that the Orthodox seminary, situated in Halki Island in the
Sea of Marmara, was closed in January 1971 based on the law banning
religious schools in Turkey. It was many times suggested to convey
the seminary to one of Istanbul universities, however this idea
was not realized since then due to constant differences between the
Constantinople Patriarchate and the Turkish Government.