Former Foreign Minister of Greece Dora Bakoyannis visited Turkey today to attend a conference on “Women and Politics in Europe and Turkey”g by KA-DER, an NGO defending women’s rights at Bilgi University.
On an exclusive interview with Turkish news channel NTV Mrs. Bakoyannis said EU/Turkey relations will improve as long as Turkey keeps working for integration. When asked about the recent anti-government demonstrations in Greece, Dora Bakoyannis said people of Greece are free to express their dissatisfaction with their lives: “we are the cradle of democracy. But don’t forget we have invented both democracy and demagogy. Greece knows how to deal with her problems and will rise from her ashes eventually. And people will contribute to this process all the way.”
Mrs. Bakoyannis stressed the fact that Ecumenical Patriarchate resides in Istanbul: “Patriarch could serve as the best ambassador for Turkey in the EU. But Turkey must solve problems concerning Christian minorities, especially the restrictions on Christian Foundations and Chalki Seminary”.
Earlier today Dora Bakoyannis visited His Holiness Barthalomew, the Ecumenical Patriarchate with Greek Ambassador to Ankara, Mr. Fotis Xidas. After the meeting she reiterated her hope for an immediate solution to the problems with Ankara government.
Turkey has a small group of Greek minority left living in Istanbul and two Turkish islands in the Aegean. Istanbul is the residency of Ecumenical Patriarchate of Orthodox Christian Church. Since 1970’s minority foundations are stripped off their real estate belongings and Chalki Seminary on Princess Islands was forced to close and religious education is not allowed for Christians in Turkey.