Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is Halki hostage? - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

An excellent commentary by Yusuf Kanlı on the principle of 'reciprocity' governing the treatment of Turkey's Greek and Greece's Turkish minorities.

Whoever penned the article by Erdoğan published in the Kritik supplement of daily Radikal must have been either still acting with the Cold War mentality of “reciprocity” or unaware of the post-Cold War changes in the world, particularly the effects of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, process and the resulting fundamental international principles that there are no boundaries for human rights violations and that there can be no reciprocity in human rights.

Keeping Halki closed means crucifying Patriarchate
The problems listed by the prime minister of course needed to be answered by the Greek state. Of course those problems are real and the ethnic Turkish and other Muslim minorities of Greece demand their resolution. But, why should Turkey act with the mentality of the 1920s, 30s, 50s, or 60s and insist on reciprocity in dealing with the problems of its own Greek Orthodox minority?
The Greek Orthodox minority is no longer numbering in, forget hundreds, tens of thousands. Because of the shameful Sept. 6-7, 1955, and the not-so-friendly atmosphere in Turkey against them, the Greek minority has dwindled and we now only have a few hundred Greeks in Istanbul. Halki, on the other hand, is an important educational center for the Patriarchate if we want it survive.
In a few years time there will not be any young clergy to take over from the aged men of religion and the Patriarchate will be compelled to die. That was indeed perhaps what the patriarch tried to say in a recent interview when he said he sometimes feels himself crucified in Turkey. Indeed, keeping Halki closed means nothing less than crucifying the Patriarchate. As simple as that.
How can Turkey hold Halki seminary a hostage to be used in promoting rights of the ethnic Turks in Greece or for some other deal with Greece? Is that not a shame for Turkey and those ruling Turkey today?

Indeed, human rights are not negotiable and cannot be hostage to political considerations and exchanges.

Is Halki hostage? - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

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