1 September, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 05/24/2010
TURKEY
Bartholomew I demands redress for wrongs suffered in Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos
by NAT da Polis
Meeting a commission for minority rights, the Ecumenical Patriarch stresses that it is time to move from words to action, restoring the rights of minorities and in particular their schools. The pogrom against Christians in Imvros and Tenedos, now reduced to only 300 people. Perhaps Turkey's European dream is fading while the desire for neo-ottomanism grows.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - At a recent meeting with the authorities in Ankara, Patriarch Bartholomew I reiterated the need to "right the wrongs suffered by the Christian minority in Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos, over the years."

It is the first time that a such a large committee - 20 members – has visited the Phanar to review the progress of the Turkish administration on respect for minority rights.

The Ankara delegation to the May 20th meeting was headed by Ambassador Volkan Bozkir (from Kemalist circles), Secretary General of the President’s Council for European Affairs.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of Orthodox Christian minorities, thus starting a cycle of meetings that the Committee will also hold with other minorities in the future.

The intervention of the Ecumenical Patriarch has shown once again that he has in fact become a reference point for all those citizens who fight for civil liberties.

Some criticize his courageous stance, accusing the Phanar of becoming a source of intrigue against the integrity of the Turkish Republic. Bartholomew responded by noting that "the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in this land dates back 17 centuries and is the oldest institution in this historic city. Like it or not, the patriarchal seat is the centre of orthodoxy and contributes to the city’s appeal”.

The patriarch called for the return of three historic churches of the Galata district, confiscated by the state in the twenties and delivered to the so-called " Patriarch of Turkish Orthodox, Pope Eftim, a patriarchy invented by Kemal Ataturk in order to attract Turkish Orthodox. This patriarchate was practically reduced to a pantomime, and finally to an Erenerol family matter, direct heirs of Pope Eftim, whose last descent, daughter Sevgi Erenerol was arrested for involvement in the Egenekon affair.

Bartholomew underscored the issue of confiscated properties of religious foundations (mazbut), whose total return - according to recent information - is not encouraging, the upgrading of closed school buildings, now without pupils (the Orthodox minority has been reduced to 3,000 individuals), the reopening of the Halki Theological School.

Finally, the patriarch suggested the possibility of reopening an elementary school for the needs of the tiny minority on the islands of Imvros and Tenedos (300 people). These islands were inhabited exclusively by Christian populations (12,000) and according to the Lausanne Treaty were to enjoy full autonomy, which was never respected by the Turkish authorities.

The two islands were also the scene of several pogroms for ethnic cleansing, with the consequent confiscation of property. These historical facts were also recently reported by a group from the Turkish civil minority deeply involved in the review and historical reconstruction of this country, outside of institutional cliches. These pogroms led to the total alteration of the population of both islands. Current figures talk about 8,000 Muslims of Kurdish origin and 300 Christians.

Bartholomew’s statements have shaken diplomatic circles in Istanbul. During a meeting with Alkyol Taha, a journalist for Milliyet, the Patriarch said he believed in the government’s good will, but now expects their words to be followed by action.

Among the shaken diplomatic circles, there is a growing “infatuation” with Turkey’s intense activism.  European enthusiasm is slowly withering – spurred on by the crisis currently rocking the Eurozone – and it is being replaced by the belief that Turkey can become a hub not only for energy sources but also for regional politics, dusting off a modern form of economic neo-ottomanesim, ideologically based on a "light" form of Islam, which in truth has always characterized the Turkish society.

According to some diplomats, this explains the lack of magnanimity of Turkish politics in the ability to give something away without abandoning its fatal concept of reciprocity, behind which hides  a lack of civil growth. In short, in Turkey, there is only a paternalistic conception of civil rights.

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
12/18/2008 TURKEY - RUSSIA
Bartholomew I: Turkish bureaucracy is trying to make us disappear
by NAT da Polis
04/28/2008 TURKEY
Ecumenical patriarch: Easter, Christ’s victory over death belongs to all Christians
by NAT da Polis
12/11/2009 TURKEY
Turkey prepares to join EU in a building confiscated from the Orthodox
by NAT da Polis
05/19/2008 TURKEY - ORTHODOX
Bartholomew I on science and protection of the environment
by NAT da Polis
05/29/2007 TURKEY
Patriarch Bartholomew: it is time that Turkey recognised minority rights

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.