I will cop to being a relative newcomer to the world of Greek international relations. It is something that interests me, and seeing as how I reside in Washington, DC I do try to be in the loop regarding the activities of the Greek-American community. However, I will readily acknowledge I am still learning some of the ins and outs.
I think it’s fair to say that one of the key issues of interest to the Greek-American community is that of the rights of the Christian minority in Turkey. The re-opening of the Orthodox Halki seminary in Turkey in particular is of great importance. The framing of this issue as one of international religious freedom is something I absolutely agree with Endy Zemenides on-though this position is apparently widely held within the Greek-American community. Turkey ought to allow Halki to re-open, in accordance with international norms as well as its own secular constitution. Not doing so amounts to effective interference in the right to religious freedom of the local Orthodox minority. This minority is largely comprised of ethnic Greeks, and it makes perfect sense that the Greek government would seek to protect their interests. However, I will agree with the Greek side that this should not be a part of any Greek/Turkish Quid pro quo as Turkish PM Erdogan has apparently recently suggested when he said “While we return something, we have the right to expect the return of other things”. Continue reading