Senior Turkish official calls for reopening of Halki seminary

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has called for the reopening of Halki seminary, a centre of Orthodox scholarship for more than a century until Turkey closed it down in 1971, according to reports.

“Minorities have the same rights as us,” Arinc told a conference in Berlin on Tuesday, Anatolia news agency reported, adding that the seminary is necessary to educate Orthodox clerics.

“This school certainly has to be opened and clerics should be educated here again,” Arinc was quoted by Anatolia as telling the conference which was organized by the International and Intercultural Dialogue Institute.

The EU has said re-opening the seminary, on an island off the Istanbul coast, is crucial if Ankara is to prove a commitment to human rights and pluralism and advance its membership bid.

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