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Turkish Dep. PM Arinc meets with Patriarch, members of ethnic Greek community

Δημοσίευση 4 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 10:01 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Turkish Dep. PM Arinc meets  with Patriarch, members  of ethnic Greek community
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Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on Monday expressed the Ankara government’s desire for “equal treatment of all citizens”, speaking during a closely watched meeting at the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate here.

Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on Monday expressed the Ankara government’s desire for “equal treatment of all citizens”, speaking during a closely watched meeting at the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate here.

The a high-profile meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, members of the Holy Synod and representatives of the dwindling ethnic Greek minority of Istanbul was held at the Patriarchate's Fanar-district headquarters.

This is the second time a senior member of the Turkish government has visited the Fanar since the 1952 visit of then premier Adnan Menderes.

The talks between the Ecumenical Patriarch and the top Turkish government official focused on several pending and pressing issues, including the reopening of the Theology School of Halki and the smooth operation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the "primus inter pares" of the world's Christian Orthodox Patriarchates. Another long-standing issue involves property seized over the decades from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and ethnic Greek charitable foundations in Turkey, as the return of such real estate holdings requires the Turkish government’s direct cooperation.

Bartholomew thanked his interlocutor for the return of the historic Greek Orthodox orphanage on the Marmara isle of Büyükada (Prinkipo) to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and reminded that 2011 marks 40 years since the Theology School on the isle of Halki was shut down.

Commenting on the Prinkipo Orphanage case, Arinc underlined that “the law and court decisions were implemented”.

During his visit to the Fanar, which lasted more than an hour, Arinc also met several Hierarchs, members of the Holy Synod, while he was also met with leading representatives of the ethnic Greek minority in Istanbul.

The visit of the Turkish deputy PM bears heightened symbolism, the latest in a string of several noteworthy changes that have taken place in recent years in relations between the Patriarchate and the Turkish government.

FM holds telephone conversation with Ecumenical Patriarch

Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas was briefed by telephone by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Turkish government vice president Bulent Arinc's visit to the Phanar on Monday and expressed the hope that this visit will be accompanied by more substantive steps by Turkey that will lift obstacles for the Patriarchate's functioning.

On the occasion of the telephone conversation between Droutsas and the Ecumenical Patriarch to exchange best wishes for the new year, the Foreign minister stressed that Greece's steadfast pursuit is the improvement of

Greek-Turkish relations, underlining that a precondition for this is for attitudes undermining efforts to build confidence to disappear on the part of Turkey.