Halki or legal murder of the Ecumenical Patriachate by the Turkish state
Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Apr 28, 2009 at 18:21
Hi, TruthWFree !
> I agree with you relative to Obama's support of Turkey in the EU. They appear to be moving more and more to being an Islamic country (as opposed to secular claims) as is evidenced by the resistance to open the Christian Halki Seminary, a small gesture of opening a tiny window in the stoic wall of Islamic dominence. I understand that they would have allowed it to open under their religious ministry but it would have been under the Islamic thumb in what it could teach.<
I'd like to stress a different point. Closing the Halki Theological School pursued a very specific and extremely perfidious plan. It is a crucial step towards liquidating the Ecumenical Patriarchate - a thorn in the eye of the Moslem Turks and their leaders. The jingoistic Milli Güç ('National Force') faction has collected 2 mln signatures demanding the Ecumanical Patriachate be expelled from Turkey once and for all. Turkey boasts of being a "democracy" and so must respect the will of its people, needn't she?
According to Kemal's law regulating the Ecumenical Patriarchate a candidate for the patriarch's see must be a Turkish citizen of Greek origin who has absolved an adequate theological school in Turkey. Then he must be approved by the Turkish state. Now the present Patriache Vartholomaios I is already 69 years old and there is no 'adequate' theological school in Turkey which students might finish. The Turks has closed it down incidentally enough. This situation is aggravated by the fact that the Greek community in Constantinople has shrunk from c. 300 000 at the beginning of the 20th century to c. 2500 at present and finding students is more and more difficult.
When the present patriach dies - or is murdered as plans to assassinate him never cease to be elaborated by Turkish patriots - who will be his successor ? Even if a candidate can be somehow found, what about the next successor? And then the next ... in twenty ... thirty years ? ... But it is exactly what the Turks have intended to achieve and they will say : "But you have no candidate satisfying the requirements of the law. You have no priest with the necessary qualifications! We can't circumvent the law to just please you, roum (Greeks)! We are sorry but we can't approve your candidate... You have no other candidate ? ... Well, you can't continue with your so called Ecumenical Patriarchate then. By the way, you have still much property in Constantinople. But no patriachate - no property of the patriacharch. It must belong to the Turkish state - the only legitimate owner. "
Someone who wrote about this dirty Turkish trick called it "Murdering the patriarchate without shedding a drop of blood". It is what the deliberate Turkish policy amounts to. The means chosen by the Turks don't look criminal at all. Quite the contrary ! They look legitimate and innocent enough. In Turkey most political crimes are commited under the cloak of law and peace.
There is a very interesting report on the tragic situation of the Ecumenical Patriachate under the Turkish tyranny. The variety and consistency of Turkish bullying, threats and legal and semi-legal chicaneries read like a grim derision of our common ideas of civilized behaviour , common sense and religious tolerance : i.al.
> 1) The Ecumenical Patriarchate is not recognized by the Turkish government as a legal entity or personality; 2) The Ecumenical Patriarchate is not recognized by the Turkish government as having an "ecumenical" character as spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians; 3) The Ecumenical Patriarchate cannot elect a new patriarch without his being approved by the Turkish government; indeed all candidates must be Turkish citizens; 4) The Ecumenical Patriarchate has severe visa restrictions placed on it by the Turkish government with regard to students and priests who come to study and serve at the Ecumenical Patriarchate; 5) The Ecumenical Patriarchate is not permitted by the Turkish government to have its own printing facility to publish journals, treatises and books; [...]7) The Ecumenical Patriarchate continues to have its properties expropriated and confiscated by the Turkish government.<
We are used to hearing - particularly from the Turks- about how 'modern' and 'progressive' the Turkish Republic is. Like many of Kemal's "reforms" his reform concerning one of the oldest Christian institutions in the world turned out to be the dismal opposite of the happy Turkish claims and as the author rightly concludes : "The Ecumenical Patriarchate had greater religious freedom during 400 years of Ottoman rule than it has had in the 83 years of existence of the Turkish Republic."
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".
Reader comments (521) on this item
Comment on this item
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes