US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged the “immediate reopening” of the Theological School of Halki, off the coast of Istanbul, which Turkey shut down in 1971.
“We urge the immediate reopening of the Halki seminary,” Pompeo said during introductory remarks at the presentation of the 2018 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom in Washington, DC, late on Friday.
Sam Brownback, the US’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom, also mentioned the Greek Orthodox seminary in his introductory remarks.
“The government of President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan continues to keep the Halki seminary closed. We call on them to let it be reopened,” he said.
The shutting down of Halki has negatively impacted the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople’s ability to renew its cadre of priests.
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios is a Halki graduate himself.