RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN TURKEY: WHEN RELIGION BECOMES AN IDEOLOGY by Pawel P. Wroblewski, Ph.D.

 
 

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN TURKEY: WHEN RELIGION BECOMES AN IDEOLOGY


by Pawel P. Wroblewski, Ph.D.

Asst. Prof., University of Wroclaw (PL)

A commentary to the 2nd International Conference on Religious Freedom entitled “Tearing Down Walls: Achieving Religious Equality in Turkey” organized in Berlin (Germany), December 4-5th, 2013, by the institutions affiliated with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople(http://conference.archons.org/).

The closing of the Halki seminary in 1971 was a painful event for the Greek diaspora in the Republic of Turkey but to demand its re-opening by all means can be seen as a form of historical sentimentalism. An implementation of the postulate may really not change a complicated situation of religious and ethnic minorities in Turkey: indeed, what does it mean to re-open one Orthodox school in comparison to hundred newly opened madrasas? It seems paradoxically that “democratic” changes in the existing regulations regarding religious education in Turkey will imply the possibility of further Islamization of the country.

There is no doubt that any initiative to create the foundations of anti-discrimination laws for religious minorities in Turkey is noble and desirable but it is difficult to accept the form and extent of the Greek Orthodox Church of Constantinople’s involvement in U.S. policy-making. The Greeks of all people should know the best that there is no single ideal paradigm of democracy – its various historical realizations have brought to the proof and none of them has a universal character.

I just find it hard to believe that patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has become a puppet in the hands of the globalists. However, claiming that he represents all Orthodox Christians Bartholomew has become like the Pope at the Vatican but a universal primacy is in evident opposition to the traditional Orthodox concept of autocephaly. It also remains doubtful that the Archbishop of Constantinople has a monopoly on use of the title of Ecumenical Patriarch: according to St. Theophanes the Confessor (Chronographia, 2) this title was attributed to the heads of all the churches of the ancient Pentarchy; previously, the general and radical theological objections to the use of the title were formulated by St. Gregory the Dialogist in his many epistles.

A disturbing Turkey’s engagement in Syria in the context of Christian exodus is definitely more substantial than the problem of the Halki seminary or of recognition of any ecclesiastical privileges and properties. It is difficult to understand that the organizers of the 2nd International Conference on Religious Freedom have other priorities in this matter. It is surprising that it was an event that was held in the EU but practically without the EU.

Every religion as an instrument of policy ceases to be religion and becomes an ideology – this principle we all should take to heart.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.