Orthodox Leaders Decry Turkish Intrusion in Seminary

ATHENS (Athens News Agency)–Greece on Tuesday stressed that the Halki School of Theology issue exceeded the bounds of Greek-Turkish relations and has become a human rights issue.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis–commenting on a decision by the Turkish government to abolish the supervisory committee of the school–said that "it should be stressed that the issue goes beyond the narrow framework of Greek-Turkish relations–since it is a problem of respect of human rights and religious freedoms in Turkey–and as such–it has provoked the reaction of other governmen’s and international organizations."

He added that the Greek government follows closely the developmen’s regarding the operation of Halki–which was ordered closed by Ankara in 1971.

Recently–the Turkish government decided to dismiss the remaining members of the committee–claiming financial mismanagement and anti-Turkish propaganda.

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos lashed out on Sunday against the state of human rights and religious freedoms in Turkey–interpreting the indignation of the small ethnic Greek community in Istanbul over the "high-handed abolition of the school’s committee."

Kranidiotis also responded by issuing a demarcate to the Turkish ambassador in Athens.

Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos Tuesday stressed that the dismissal of the supervising board aims at transferring the school’s property to the Turkish state.

The Archbishop spoke during the feast day of Agios Nectarios on the island of Aegina–saying "the measure aims at grabbing someone else’s property."

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