Patriarch gives vent to frustration with Turks

Orthodox Christianity’s Istanbul-based spiritual leader, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, yesterday publicly lamented the Turkish government’s failure to make good its past pledges to reopen the Halki Seminary. In January, the patriarch said, the Turkish education minister talked about allowing the religious training center, which has been shut since 1971, to reopen. Last week, however, the country’s powerful National Security Council said that such a move would be an internal threat to Turkey. «I cannot explain this, even to myself. I am upset and I am not hiding it,» said Vartholomaios. Meanwhile, a circular from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office has been sent to all Turkish state officials banning them from attending a function in honor of the Patriarchate at the US ambassador’s residence in Ankara today.