"The patriarch is right. The state, with its ignorance of a Turkish institution for 38 years (Halki Orthodox Seminary was closed by Turkey in 1971.), has not been able to keep its word and has crucified the patriarch." These are the words of a Turkish native, Mehmet Ali Birand, as they appear in the December 21, 2009 edition of the Turkish English Daily, Hurriet Daily News website.
Birand's words refer to Patriarch Bartholomew's statement that he feels "crucified" living in Turkey, and being treated as a second-class citizen. The Patriarch made his statement last Sunday evening on the "60 Minutes" TV program.
In his objective and sincere analysis, Birand adds, "No offense, but the culture and custom of crucifying exists in our state (Turkey). It did not only apply it to the Patriarchate but also to its citizens and institutions, and it continues to do so."
Turkey closed down its only Orthodox Christian Seminary on its island of Halki in 1971. Although it agreed to reopen the Halki Seminary several months ago, Turkey has not taken any action to do so.
Birand concludes his article by warning Turkey to listen to Patriarch Bartholomew. Otherwise, he says, "let's not get angry if the Patriarch goes before the European Court of Human Rights." This European Union-affiliated court serves as the Supreme Court for European countries and Turkey.