Today, Monday February 20, 2012, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in response to an official invitation by the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, His Excellency Cemil Çiçek, travelled to Ankara where he deliberated for an hour with its Inter-Party Committee for the revision of the country’s Constitution under the chairmanship of His Excellency Atilla Kart, parliamentary member for Konya for the Turkish Opposition Party.
The Patriarch conveyed the greetings and gratitude for the invitation on behalf both of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek community in Turkey, whose challenges and demands in the field of human rights he discussed. These issues especially encompass religious freedom and freedom of conscience, education, including religious education, property, and so on. Furthermore, he presented an 18-page document prepared by all the Minorities in Turkey, describing their common sentiments that emphasize their equality as citizens of the country without the discriminations and injustices of the past.
Patriarch Bartholomew and his entourage, the very reverend Deacon Joachim, Deputy Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, the honorable Mr. Panteleimon Vingas, Archon Grand Hartophylax and elected representative of the Minorities in the Council of the General Directorate of Foundations, and the honorable professor of law, Mr. Emre Öktem, addressed the specific subject of the revision of the Constitution and responded to questions of the committee chairman and members, while expounding on particular issues.
Afterward, His All-Holiness offered statements and responded to questions from the assembled numerous representatives of the mass media.
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, February 20, 2012
From the Office of the Chief Secretary
of the Holy and Sacred Synod