Monday, January 18, 2010

Head of Religious Affairs expresses support for Halki Seminary reopening

Bardakoğlu expresses support for Halki Seminary reopening
Bardakoğlu said in an interview with the NTV news channel that as a Muslim and the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate he supports everyone’s religious freedom. “We should act ethically and be principled on this issue. Our ancestors opened the Halki Seminary in İstanbul. I have always been in support of the religious freedom of all religious groups in our country,” he said.

Touching upon another controversial issue surrounding religious freedom in Turkey, Bardakoğlu said that a former Roman Catholic church in Tarsus, which was confiscated by the state in 1943 and is now a museum, should be turned back into a house of worship.

Rather than remaining a museum, St. Paul’s Church should be reopened as a church, Bardakoğlu said. “Let churches remain churches and mosques, mosques. People should be able to openly express their religions or irreligiousness. Atheists should also be able to live freely in this society. This does not mean that we approve of atheism. We should also demand the same freedoms for Muslims.

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