11 June, 2005
WASHINGTON 11/6/2005 (ANA/A.Ellis)
The US House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations approved an amendment on Thursday, urging Turkey to secure the human and religious rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar.
The amendment was submitted by New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez. It has been incorporated in a draft law concerning the State Department and is being tabled for discussion in the House of Representatives.
"All those who support religious freedom throughout the world, are also calling for recognition of the Patriarchate's rights," Menendez said.
Menendez also expressed concern that while Turkey has secured a start date for EU accession talks, it continues to violate the rights of religious minorities.
Finally, Menendez called on the Turkish government to allow the patriarchate to teach theologists of various nationalities - not just Turkish citizens - and to provide the patriarchate with the international recognition it deserves.
Source: Athens News Agency