The Turkish government has tolerated assaults against its Greek Orthodox Christian religious minority, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and continues the illegal closure of the Greek Orthodox Halki Patriarchal School of Theology in Istanbul. These actions violate U.S. principles and law on freedom of religion as expressed in Section 2804 of the FY98 Omnibus Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (PL 105-277). This law calls for the Turkish government to safeguard the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its personnel, and its property, and to reopen the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology.
Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA), the president of the United States is obligated to oppose violations of religious freedom in any country whose government “engages in or tolerates violations of religious freedom and promote the right to religious freedom in that country.” The Act further obligates the president to take one or more of 15 enumerated actions with respect to any such country.
Although in 2010 Turkey has signaled the need to address the issue of religious freedom among its minorities there is still much more that needs to be accomplished—namely the recognition of the Patriarch’s “ecumenical” title, the reopening of the Halki Seminary, the return of all confiscated properties by the Turkish government, and ensuring the succession of the Ecumenical Patriarch.As a result, U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-14-NY) and U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-9-FL) have introduced a House resolution, H.Res.180, that urges Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Rep Ackerman, Gary L. [NY-5] - 3/31/2011
We urge you to contact your U.S. representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor H.Res.180.
RESOURCE: HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS LIST
Reminder: We encourage the community to secure as many co-sponsors of the resolution as possible. However, it is especially important to secure the co-sponsorship of members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee because that committee has jurisdiction over the resolution. Please make a special effort if your U.S. representative is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
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