Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the 300 million-member Orthodox Christian Church, feels "crucified" living in Turkey under a government he says would like to see his nearly 2,000-year-old Patriarchate die out.

Since then, history has seen the Patriarch and the part of his church in Turkey - who are Turkish citizens of Greek ancestry - discriminated against in their traditional homeland inside what has become modern Turkey, where 99 percent of the people are Muslim. One and a half million were expelled in 1923 and another 150,000 left after violent anti-Christian riots in Istanbul in 1955. A population once numbering near two million is now around 4,000.

"It is not [a]crime?to be a minority living in Turkey but we are treated as?second class," Bartholomew tells Simon. "We don't feel that we enjoy our full rights as Turkish citizens."

Turkish authorities closed churches, monasteries and schools, including its only orthodox Seminary, the Halki School of Theology. According to Turkish law the only potential successors to Bartholomew must be Turkish born and trained at the Halki. "[The Turkish government] would be happy to see the Patriarchate extinguished or moving abroad, but our belief is that it will never happen," says Bartholomew.
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Bartholomew finds the letter ironic. "I have visited the prime minister, many ministers, submitting our problems?asking to help us," he tells Simon. But no help has come his way from the Turkish government, which prides itself on being secular and fears any special treatment for Orthodox Christians could lead to inroads by other religions, especially Islam.

The Patriach is determined to hold his ground. "This is the continuation of Jerusalem and for us an equally holy and sacred land. We prefer to stay here, even crucified sometimes," says Bartholomew. Asked by Simon if he feels crucified, His All Holiness replies, "Yes, I do."
The full article is here along with the interview video.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/...n5990390.shtml

I'm wondering, is Turkey ruled by laws or by Islamic beliefs? Is that the same country that wants to become an EU member? Personally, and I assume all European citizens feel the same, I only want democratic countries in EU and not pseudo democracies ruled by religious laws and the army.

Not reopening the Halki School is a violation of Lausanne Treaty and Turkish government is doing nothing about it. On the contrary it seems like they are trying for the opposite...

From what I know, when you ask for something, (be it a favor, money, a place in the EU, etc) you have to give something in advance. The problem is I don't see Turkey wanting to "give" anything. On the contrary their government doesn't even try to resolve now, matters that should have been resolved in the past anyway, before any EU membership application... EU should be asking for more now from Turkey if they want a place in EU, (which, in my opinion, they don't really qualify for since they are not Europe) and not struggling to make them do what is self-explanatory and should have been done many years ago.

In Greece we say: if you let the bully in your front yard he will be on your bed the next day raping your wife. Similar with what the English would say: To give an inch and take a mile, which is what Turkey is doing right now...