The head of the Greek Orthodox Church in İstanbul, Patriarch Bartholomew, urged the European Union on Wednesday to take on Turkey as a member if it improves democratic and human rights standards.
The Orthodox Church is still suffering from problems in EU candidate Turkey despite an improvement in its treatment under the present government, Patriarch Bartholomew, said yesterday in Brussels. "I have to be honest and say that despite many steps taken by our country in modernizing reforms, there are still many things that have to be done before we can talk about a modern democracy which respects religious rights," he told a news conference after addressing the European Parliament.
The patriarch said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government had done more to improve the rights of the Orthodox Church than its predecessors but that problems persisted. "In order to survive, we need clergy and when we cannot train these people and prepare them. ... This creates dangers for the present and the future of our patriarchate," Bartholomew said.
"We are talking about a country of 72 million, so the question of 100,000 or 150,000 inhabitants who are not Muslims is not a threat. It is something that can only enrich the country," he said.
In his address to the EU legislature he said Turkey could be a bridge between religions and cultures. Bartholomew endorsed Turkey's ambition to become a full member of the EU, provided it met all the criteria, despite opposition from the leaders of France and Germany.
A Statement on a Buddhist Workshop in Greece - A statement issued in March 2013 by the Holy Metropolis of Glyfada on a Buddhist workshop that took place later that month. On Saturday 23 March 2013 the...
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