Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2006

ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey

  • NOW AVAILABLE!
My Photo

Greek Heritage Festival Photos

  • P7110628
    Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Saco, Maine, USA 10-12 July 2009

Halki Seminary

  • DSC00655
    The Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki is located on the Turkish island known as Heyelbiada in the Bosporus straits. It was closed in 1971 by the Turkish government and is the subject of much controversy since it is the only seminary in Turkey and the position of Ecumenical Patriarch can only be filled by a Turkish citizen. Sign the petition to reopen it at www.greece.org

Index of Posts

« Revising History and Albanian Nationalism | Main | What Do God and Greek Dancing Have To Do With Each Other? »

12 November 2006

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bf6c453ef00d8350f412969e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Illusion of Religious Freedom in Turkey:

Comments

Meriç Işıldakoğlu

"The Halki Theological Seminary was, until its closure by the Turkish authorities in 1971, the main school of theology of the Patriarchate of Constantinople."

- This is a wrong word Stavros.

"The seminary was 'closed' by a Turkish law requiring state control of all higher education involved in religious and military training."

- This is partly true. Because, this school, never closed by the Turkish authorities. Closed by the Patriarch. Patriarch didn't want the control of the authorities on the school. Maybe you don't want either. But Patriarch is a part of Turkish Republic not your or any other country's... You have a religious connection, I respect. But you must respect to the Turkish Republic...

Hoşçakal.

Stavros

Merhaba,

The Patriarch refused to allow the school to be under the control of a secular university. As an accredited institution, the seminary which my father graduated from in 1947, had to meet the standards and rules imposed by the Turkish Republic. For example, my father, an Albanian national had to learn to speak fluent Turkish in order to receive a diploma. Many other students from other countries were unable to do so. The seminary had a number of foreign students.

Relinquishing state control of the seminary would threaten the Turkish State's control over Islamic educational institutions. Something that Turkish secularists will not tolerate. Sultan Mehmet reestablished the Patriarchate because he realized it was an important tool for controlling the Ottoman Empire's Christian subjects. That is no longer an issue since most of Turkey's Christian citizens have been eliminated.

In my humble opinion, many Turks believe that the Patriarch is subverting the Republic. In fact, the Patriarch is the spiritual leader of millions of Orthodox Christians all over the world. The sooner Turkey recognizes his ecumenical character the sooner they will be on the road to edging closer to true, not imaginary religious freedom in the country.

Religious freedom in Turkey is tenuous both for Christians and Muslims. I am not sure how the conflict between Kemalists and Islamists will play out. Radical Islam unfortunately, is in the ascendancy, moderate Muslims are responding with a deafening silence. Further restricting the Patriarchate is not going to solve any of your problems, it will only add to them.

I appreciate your reasonable comments regarding a contentious and emotional issue. Needless to say I think it is essential that Turks need to be introspective, question intransigent government policies. No one else can do it for you. It's not about respect, it's about changing the status quo.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Become a Fan

Searching for Ithaka

  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy

FAIR USE

  • This site may include excerpts of copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available consistent with the established practice of academic citation and in an effort to advance understanding of the issues addressed by My Greek Odyssey blog. This constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without fee or payment of any kind to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use,” you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. All original material produced by the author and published on this site is copyrighted.

Posting

  • POSTING STANDARDS
    User comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will not be accepted and will be removed from the site. Users who continue to violate any of my posting standards will be blocked.

Bookmarks