Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey
Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey.
Please Open the Theological School of Halki.We, the people who have signed this petition, wish to express our strong support for the reopening of the Eastern Orthodox School of Theology, in the island of Halki (Heybeliada).
The Halki School represents the spiritual, intellectual, and cultural life of the Eastern Orthodox community. As a place of education and learning, the School of Halki, until its closure in 1971, included international students from a wide array of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
It is a training center for clerics of one of the oldest Christian Ecclesiastical offices in the World, as well as a place of learning for laymen within the Greek Orthodox Church.
It is a historical center and treasure for the Christian world.
Rationale for the petition
The Modern Theological School of Halki was opened in 1844 at the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Constantinople. It is the training center for hierarchs of the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, Turkey.
The forcible closure of Halki in 1971, after the infamous pogroms and deportations of Greek Orthodox Christians in 1955 and 1964, constitutes a violation of Articles 37-44 of the Treaty of Lausanne, the United Nations Charter, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the basic Principles on Security and Cooperation in Europe, among others.
Any time a Greek government has requested the reopening of the School, the Turkish government attempts to cover its discrimination by making demands‒in return‒on matters that are completely unrelated to the Halki issue and were nonexistent at the time of Halki’s closure.
While the Halki School of Theology was closed, other private Colleges were permitted to function, indicating the discriminatory nature of Halki School’s closure.
Both the American Congress and the European Parliament have adopted Resolutions demanding the reopening of Halki. At least two American Presidents and hundreds of other political and religious figures worldwide, including the Pope of Rome, have called on Turkish authorities to lift the discriminatory restrictions on the Halki School of Theology.
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International Hellenic Association