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Opinion

Turkey needs no help from Canada, Greece to reopen seminary

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Re: “Turkey and Greece are capable of solving their own issues,” (The Hill Times, March 20, p. 8). Turkish authorities closed the Halki seminary in 1971. Since then, respected international organizations, countless nations, and heads of state and government have asked Turkey to reopen it.

In former United States president Barack Obama’s historic address to the Turkish Parliament in April 2009, 10 full years ago, he specifically cited the need to reopen Halki. This, Obama said, “will send such an important signal inside Turkey and beyond.”

In her letter, Kevser Taymaz writes that “Turkey is a constitutional democracy, upholding equality before law and respecting fundamental rights and freedoms.”

For this reason, Turkey, as a sovereign state, has the authority to reopen Halki. Turkey needs no help from Canada or Greece. Trying to connect this issue to affairs in another sovereign state, while related, is irrelevant and a delay tactic.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is a Turkish citizen. He served in the Turkish military. He should not be treated as a second-class citizen. As a country “respecting fundamental rights and freedoms,” Turkey should do the right thing on its own and reopen the Halki seminary.

Evan Sotiropoulos

Toronto, Ont.

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