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Ecumenical Patriarch concludes two-days of meetings in Ankara with ministers of new political leadership

His All Holiness meets with Hayati Yazici, Vice President and Minister of State, during his two-day visit to Ankara.

His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew recently concluded two-days of meetings in Ankara, Turkey from October 29-31, 2007. The Ecumenical Patriarch met with five ministers of the new political leadership of Turkey, including Hayati Yazici, Vice President and Minister of State; Besir Atalay, Minister of Internal Affairs; Ali Babacan, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Huseyin Celik, Minister of Education; and Mehmet Ali Sahin, Minister of Justice. Their discussions involved the promotion and resolution of matters of concern surrounding the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek minority of Istanbul, Imbros, and Tenedos.

The ministers welcomed His All Holiness cordially in an atmosphere of understanding. The Ecumenical Patriarch stated to the ministers his just demands: boldly and clearly on the subjects concerning the properties of the Patriarchate and Greek Community, particularly the twenty-four “occupied” Institutions. His All Holiness insisted that these institutions should be returned to the legal beneficiaries of the Greek Community of Istanbul.


Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sits with Ali Babacan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and discusses the problems surrounding the Theological Faculty of Halkis.

His All Holiness also discussed the subject of the Theological Faculty of Halkis and its re-opening. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew pointed out that there must be a political will and good disposition for resolution, as well as for the other problems that the Greek Community also faces. The Ecumenical Patriarch also asked for the ministers’ support towards the correction of past injustices, at the expense of the Greek community.

In the statement of his interlocutors, the resolution of certain problems confronts the provisions of the Constitution. His All Holiness opposed that the Minority Institutions are protected from the Treaty of Lausanne and can not be connected with Ottoman Institutions (Vakoufia).

The ministers responded with attention and expressed their desire that solutions may be found in the questions that were raised during their discussions. They assured His All Holiness that they will pay particular interest in confronting these issues. The ministers also reported on the reforms that were promoted, and that will be further continued along with the efforts which are being made, to resolve these outstanding issues step-by-step. The ministers also stressed to the Ecumenical Patriarch that they see and face the Minorities as a wealth and a value that lives in their lands from centuries, as a part of the history of their country.

View the photos of these meetings.

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