28 June, 2005
ANKARA, 28/06/2005 (ANA - A. Ambatzis)
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said on Monday there is no question of changing the Ecumenical Patriarchate's status, adding that the issue of the Halki School of Theology "will be addressed in the framework of existing legislation in Turkey."
Replying to a question on the Patriarchate, Gul said "with the Lausanne Treaty the freedoms of religion, worship and education for minorities are regulated at length."
He further said that "however, the Treaty does not include the Phanar Patriarchate and issues related to it. However, the issue of the Patriarchate was among issues discussed extensively at the Lausanne Conference. Of course, the position of the Patriarchate is being evaluated in the framework agreed at the Lausanne Conference."
The Turkish minister pointed out that "the arrangements concerning the election of the Patriarch take place in accordance with this agreement."
Regarding the question of the School of Theology at Halki, Gul said "efforts are being made so that problems allegedly facing our citizens of Greek origin on the issue of the training of clergymen will be handled in the framework of existing legislation."
Turkish Minister without Portfolio Mehmet Aydin also referred to the issue of the School of Theology, according to a report on Monday in the newspaper "Radikal" entitled "Turn on the issue of the School of Theology."
The minister said "nobody can request some special, exclusive arrangement", adding that "in Turkey, both Moslems and non-Moslems have the same rights and nobody can request the granting of some privilege."
Source: Athens News Agency