Thursday, October 05, 2006

Seminary stays shut as Turkey bucks EU pressure -

"The blackboards are clean, desks dusted and library books neatly ranged. The Greek Orthodox seminary on this idyllic island off Istanbul is ready and waiting to take in new student priests.

But this autumn, as for the past 35 years, Halki seminary remains shut, despite pressure on Turkey to reopen it to qualify for European Union membership. Visitors reaching the hilltop retreat by horse-drawn carriage find the place empty."

"The 162-year-old seminary, a barometer of religious freedom in secular Turkey, which has a Muslim majority, seemed close to revival as Ankara debated changing a law that shut it in 1971.

But the Islamist-rooted government had to pull a proposed change in the law when the secular-minded opposition charged it would change the status of religious minorities in Turkey."
Seminary stays shut as Turkey bucks EU pressure -

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