Arınç Asks Greece To Reopen Halki Seminary

fdgbfGreece ought to take some steps forward to address grievances of the Turkish minority in Western Thrace. This would as a result help the Turkish government towards the reopening of a Greek Orthodox theological seminary on the island of Heybeliada near İstanbul, according to a senior Turkish Cabinet member.

In an exclusive interview with Today΄s Zaman, Bülent Arınç, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman, called on both the Greek Patriarchate together with the US to actually press the Greek government to play its part in facilitating steps to reopen the seminary.

“…It will also partially happen due to the US persistence. We are waiting not only for these two, but for anybody who has an influence on Greece to come out and say: ‘Do not do injustice to the Muslim Turkish minority in Western Thrace, give them their rights. When these rights are given, Turkey will be more comfortable,” he explained.

Arınç highlighted that the Turkish government has been positive towards the seminary issue, stressing that Turkey recognizes the training of clergy for the Greek Orthodox Church as a “fundamental right.”

He also noted, “There are some reasons why this issue has not been resolved yet. Partially, we are waiting for some initiatives to be carried out by the other side. Secondly, the status we are contemplating for the seminary is not totally accepted by the Patriarchate.”

On the other side, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman, Grigoris Delavekuras, said that such a decision would be a positive sign of the Turkish government’s intentions and will. Moreover, in response to Arınç’s statements, Delavekuras stressed that the Greek government was now awaiting steps from Ankara.

He also stated,“It would be preferable that these sort of statements that do not contribute to pursuing and reinforcing the atmosphere of agreement between our countries cease.”


  1. LOL. These Turks make me laugh, remember the ‘Instanbul pogrom” where in the 1950s the Turks deported over 100,000 Greeks which they lived in Constantinople for centuries for just been Greeks, and don’t forget the illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus..

  2. There is also the fact that all of Thrace is Hellenic and yet they control half, many islands are Hellenic and yet the people were forced off – one, near the once Hellenic community of Kalipoli (now Gallipoli) was still boasting Hellenic residents until the 1970s. Recent.

  3. Oh, yea, remember the Greek invasion of Turkey and the burning of Izmir?

    You guys have to inject old hateful politics into every debate. You keep calling Constantinople “Hellenic.”

    It was “Hellenic”, it has also been “Persian”, than it has also been “Roman” than it has also been “Byzantine,” and temporarily (well for 100 plus years) occupied by the Crusades and other Balkan countries before coming back to the Byzantines until 1453.

    You talk about Greeks living in Istanbul still in the 1950s and 1970s but you forget that as a part of the settlement of the Greco-Turkish war of 1918-1922, it was the Greek King who asked for a population exchange.

    You know what the irony about all of this is? Greeks keep making demands on a country (Turkey) that is 8 times its size and keep opposing EU accession. Whereas if Turkey did join, Greeks as EU citizens would have immediate rights to go and live in Istanbul or where ever else they want in Turkey because it would be a member of the EU and then they could also vote in local elections in Turkey as EU citizens. Yet, instead what the Greek world would prefer to do is make demands on repeated demands on Turkey.

    Example: Greeks ask for the opening of this or that seminary yet the muslims in Thrace – and whether its Historically Hellenic or not – those muslims live there, have absolutely no rights in Greece and Greece has had over 1 dozen judgements from the European Court of Human Rights. IF there is reciprocity than sure things can be done at this juncture – without or without EU membership – but if there isn’t what on earth makes Greeks think that they have continued rights to Istanbul or Izmir or whatever? If that is the case than why dont we restructure the entire world? All Americans can give the lands they took back to the American Indians. The Germans, who were Huns, can go back to central asia. And the Phoenicians and Persians can come back and occupy parts of Thrace etc. etc.

  4. Turks burned down Izmir (Smyrna). Turks forced out over 200,000 Hellenes during the 1950’s pogroms. Turks killed over 1,000,000 Hellenes during the latter part of the 19th century and into the early 20th century. Turks illegally invaded Cyprus and killed thousands of Hellenes – yet again. Shut your mouth because you are an idiot.

  5. All historians agree it was the retreating Greek army that burned down Izmir. You talk about the pogroms? Okay. Yep, those were the 1950s. If you want to keep going back in history, there were over 2 million Turks living in Greece during Ottoman times, after Greek independence, they were ethnically cleansed. You want to keep digging into history? It was the Greek King who asked for a population exchange at the end of the Greek-Turkish war in 1922 that made the number of Greeks dwindle in Turkey.
    You want to talk about the Cyprus invasion? The Treaty of Guarantee of 1974, which Cyprus accepted and gave it its independence from Great Britain, specifically ruled out enosis with Greece. The Treaty, which is also apart of the Cypriot constitution specifically permitted Turkey to militarily intervene in case of enosis–Turkey was within its rights to invade to protect its interests. You also completely forget about the ethnic cleansing of Turks from the island that is independently documented by the British consul and forces there. You just like to see the Greek side of things. In any event, Turkey is listed as a guarantor power in the Treaty so whether you like it or not, it is how it is.
    And you want to call me an idiot for proposing solution? If Turkey joined the EU, Greeks can freely move and settle in Turkey instead of constantly complaining and stomping their feet demanding things when they neither have the economy nor the military power to demand anything. Turkish economy is growing at 5 times the growth rate of Europe. Its debt to GDP is 36%. And if Greeks and Turks were both EU citizens, Greeks can freely come into Turkey, vote in local elections to have whatever church/monastery etc. they want reopened. Or they can constantly complain from the EU and get absolutely nothing from Turkey. What has Greece gotten from Turkey over the past 50 years? Nothing and nothing more will be gotten with your vitriolic and false statements that eexaggerate both facts, figures and views.


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