Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has linked the possibility of reopening the Halki seminary with the possibility for the Muslim minority of Thrace to elect its own muftis.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew yesterday in Ankara, where they were taken to the dinner given by the President of Turkey.
Regarding the possibility of reopening the Halki seminary, Erdogan said “unfortunately it has been closed since 1971. But we are not the ones to blame for that.”
Τhe Turkish president stressed: “We are now at a point where unfortunately there is no education at the Halki seminary. Of course, Alexis Tsipras and the previous prime ministers have put the issue on the agenda many times. Each time they bring the issue of the seminary to my attention, I tell them that we must also deal with the issue of muftis in Western Thrace.”
He stressed: “The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate consisted of 7 members. I said to the Ecumenical Patriarch: ‘Give us a list of people who can attend the Holy Synod, and I will grant them Turkish citizenship in order that the Holy Synod can be functional. He gave us the names of these people and we granted them the Turkish citizenship. Now the Holy Synod consists of 15 members and is functional. So, we contributed to serve the needs of the Patriarchate,” Erdogan noted.