QA-24, 11 October 2013, Statement of the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey in Response to a Question Regarding the Declarations of a EU Commission Officer Regarding the Heybeliada Seminary

We have noted the interest of the EU Commission in the opening of the Heybeliada Seminary. The concrete steps taken by Turkey to meet the demands of its citizens who are members of the Greek Orthodox Minority are in fact well known by all.

On the other hand, this interest has given rise to hope and expectations that the Commission will henceforth closely follow the situation of minorities in EU member countries. Indeed, in Greece, which has been a member of the EU for more than thirty years, the problems faced by the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace, which have even been denied the freedom to define their ethnic identity and to elect their own religious leaders, and those faced by Greek citizens of Turkish descent living in the Dodecanese who have even been refused minority status are of a magnitude that deserves the attention of the European Union.