Erdogan says Greek mosque would lead to Halki opening

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly said he is prepared to reopen the Greek Orthodox Seminary of Halki off the coast of Istanbul if Greece opens a mosque in Thessaloniki.

Hurriyet Daily News reported Friday that Erdogan made the comments during a lunch with academics and historians on Thursday. Athens has been pushing Turkey to reopen the seminary since 1971, when Ankara shut it down.

Thessaloniki does not have a functioning mosque but in 2013 Mayor Yiannis Boutaris allowed Muslim students to pray in the city’s Yeni Mosque for the first time in 88 years.

The government submitted an amendment to Parliament on Thursday aimed at clearing another legal obstacle toward the planned construction of a mosque in the Votanikos neighborhood of Athens. Junior coalition partner Independent Greeks said it would not vote in favor of the amendment.

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