» 02/19/2010, 00.00
Erdogan would not mind an appeal by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the European Court
NAT da Polis
The Patriarch’s aim, it is rumoured, is the recognition of the right to reopen the theological school, the fundamental battle for freedom of religion. For the current government a Strasbourg ruling would be useful to help undermine bureaucratic resistance of the establishment to any reform project
Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Appeal to the International Court in Strasbourg. This is the idea which, according to diplomatic sources in Brussels, is being matured by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in order to see the reopening of the Theological School of Halki (see photo).
The idea, according to the same sources, has met with favourable results within the Union, given the difficulties and the unwillingness of the Erdogan government to proceed with the reopening of the school. Because, according to voices in the community setting, as long as there is a continuing clash between the old establishment and Erdogan’s current reformist government there will be no solution to the problem of recognition of the rights of Christian minorities in Turkey, of which the reopening of Halki is a significant point.
The action in itself is nothing new, because the same Patriarch Bartholomew has repeatedly expressed his intention to appeal to international forums to vindicate rights that have been trampled for decades.
What is surprising, according to Brussels, is that this initiative has apparently been approved by certain sectors of the Turkish bureaucracy close to Erdogan's reformist project. Because they believe that the judgments of Strasbourg - which in principle are binding - are the only way to break the old establishment, which hinders any reform. The rulings, in short, would help Erdogan's reformist cabinet in its approach to the Turkish bureaucratic apparatus, which considers itself heir to the secularist concept, and of which the judiciary, right up to the Supreme Court, are the last bastion after the army has been - for the moment – close to collapse following the Ergenekon affair (the Turkish Gladio).
The statements made in this regard by Cilek, deputy head of the government party AKP, have been both significant and explanatory. A figure of authority, Cilek in a recent meeting with students made a symbolic radiography of the contemporary Kemalist state. Turkey, he said, was founded (and the founders were mostly refugees from the Balkans, while current reformists instead express an Asian soul) as a parliamentary republic. But without democracy, since a "secular" and authoritarian bureaucracy was created, which is now outdated and anachronistic, pledged to prevent any development of Turkish society and always under the watchful eye of the army. (Remember that in Turkey before 1946 the migration of peasants of Anatolia and Istanbul to Ankara was prohibited in order not to contaminate the Western ways of the bureaucratic elite). In short, for Cilak, a bureaucracy seeking to protect the state from the desires of the population. A so-called secular state, that has not accepted the principle of religious freedom for its minorities can not champion the rights of Muslims in Europe. In a Europe, he concluded, where there are 4 thousand mosques and various centres of Muslim culture. Erdogan himself responding long ago to the army chief of staff, who wanted to express the regret of the military for the past events, was quick to ironically remind him that even the Turkish population has been plagued for decades but has never been able to express his regret.
It seems, finally, not by chance that the choice of new Turkish ambassador to the Holy See was made outside the circles of diplomatic service, another stronghold of the old establishment, and that the diplomat before his departure for Rome made a courtesy visit to Ecumenical Patriarch. For the first time.
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