Since January there is a drive by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to re-open the Theological Seminary of Heybeliada (Halki) in Istanbul. This seminary has been closed by the Turkish government even though it promised to permit its re-opening up till 2004. Currently under Turkish law, the Ecumenical Patriarch must be a Turkish citizen. But since the seminary is closed, and through discriminatory practices by the Turkish government which has whittled away the Orthodox population down to about 2,000 in Turkey, it is incredibily difficult to select the Patriarch.
Moreover, since 1975 the Turkish government has confiscated 75% of the Patriarchate’s properties. They have also lodged retoractive taxes of 42% on Church hospitals and other facilities since 1999. Details regarding other human rights violations and discriminatory practies by the Turkish government can be accessed at
Citizens in free countries of the West are urged to contact their elected representatives to influence the Turkish government to make good on its past promise to permit the re-opening of the seminary and protect the freedom of its Christian minority. American citizens are urged to contact their U.S. senators. The influence of western citizens will be especially potent at this point when Turkey is petitioning for entrance into the European Union.