American Hellenic Institute

AHI Calendar

 

2017golf illustration

Facebook Image
AHI Calls on U.S. to Apply Legislation on Halki School of Theology to Turkey's Latest Interference with the School
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
November 11, 1998 No. 49/98 (202) 785-8430

AHI CALLS ON U.S. TO APPLY LEGISLATION ON HALKI SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY TO TURKEY'S LATEST INTERFERENCE WITH THE SCHOOL

On November 11, 1998, the American Hellenic Institute sent a letter (copy attached) to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright drawing attention to the Turkish decision to dissolve the supervisory committee of the Halki Theological School. The letter states that this action by Turkey provides further evidence of Turkey's refusal to acknowledge its obligations to protect the Orthodox heritage in Turkey. This decision flagrantly violates all Turkey's obligations under international law to respect freedom of worship and religion.

AHI has campaigned for many years to urge successive administrations to bring pressure to bear on Turkey to fulfill its legal and moral obligations toward the Orthodox Church in Turkey. Our initiative recently led to legislation introduced by Congressman Mike Bilirakis and Senator Olympia Snowe which later became Section 2804 of the 1999 Appropriations bill passed on October 22, 1998.

This section contains provisions calling upon the United States to use its influence with Turkey to:
(1) recognize the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its nonpolitical, religious mission;
(2) ensure the continued maintenance of the institution's physical security needs, as provided for under Turkish and international law, including the Treaty of Lausanne, the 1968 Protocol, the Helsinki Final Act (1975) and the Charter of Paris;
(3) provide for the proper protection and safety of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Patriarchate personnel; and
(4) reopen the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Halki Patriarchal School of Theology."

AHI's letter stresses the timeliness of this legislation with regard to Turkey's recent action against the Halki School and calls upon the Administration to take practical steps with Turkey to put the legislation into effect.