The State Department is calling for the immediate reopening of the Theological School of Halki, according to the State Department’s annual report on religious freedoms in the world for 2018.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and the US Ambassador for Religious Freedoms, Sam Brownback, referred to the Halki issue and it is noteworthy that these petitions were made during their introductory position, which summarizes Washington’s view of the main problems globally on the religious freedoms.
“We are urging the immediate reopening of the Halki Theological School near Constantinople”, said the US Foreign Minister, while on his part Mr. Brownback said that “in Turkey, the government of President Erdogan continues to keep the Halki Theological School closed. We urge them to allow it to be reopened”.
The Turkish response was almost immediate -albeit indirect- as it was provocative.
The spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement aimed to be the answer to the Greek Presidential Decree that settles issues regarding the imams of the Muslim community in western Thrace, in fact, practically responded to the US position on the Theological School of Halki.
The Turkish diplomat accused Greece of violating the Lausanne Treaty by patronizing the Muslim community of Thrace, which he called “Turkish”.
It should be reminded that in the Lausanne Treaty all sides recognized the existence of a religious minority in Thrace rather than an ethnic minority as Turkey claims.