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GreekReporter.comGreek churchSenator-elect John Fetterman Blasts Turkey on Religious Freedom

Senator-elect John Fetterman Blasts Turkey on Religious Freedom

Fetterman relious freedom Turkey
John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke earlier in the campaign, won the Senate race against Dr. Mehmet Oz. Credit: Twitter/Fetterman

Senator-elect of Pennsylvania John Fetterman recently released a statement regarding his opposition to Turkey’s treatment of the religious freedom of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Orthodox Christianity.

Fetterman, on Tuesday, won the race against Dr. Mehmet Oz who was strongly backed by former President Donald Trump.

In the statement dated October 20th, Fetterman also expressed his concern over the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque and the closure of the Halki Seminary.

In a news release from Manatos & Manatos, Fetterman also condemned Turkey’s confiscation of thousands of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s properties and Ankara’s practice of interference with Ecumenical Patriarchal succession.

Manatos & Manatos is an established lobbying firm in Washington DC that for over eighty-four years has been working with top senators, members, administration officials, and thought leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, in formulating US policy.

Fetterman: Religious freedom concern in Turkey

Fetterman’s complete statement follows:

The U.S. Constitution guarantees everyone the right to religious freedom. It is an American value and a shared value of both me and the Greek-American community. One area of particular concern for me is the country of Turkey, where bipartisan American leaders in Washington have found that religious freedom limitations have been placed on the spiritual head of the Greek Orthodox Church and of over 300 million Orthodox Christians world-wide, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Over the course of his leadership Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been a leader in interfaith dialogue; moving Muslim leaders to condemn the 9/11 attack on America as an anti-religious act. For his contributions to religious understanding and peace, Congress recognized him with the Congressional Gold Medal. And he has been recognized for his remarkable leadership in the fight against climate change.

As a U.S. Senator I will support the Greek Orthodox’s fight for religious freedom in Turkey. I strongly believe that Turkey must protect the religious freedoms of the Greek Orthodox Church, recognize Bartholomew as the Ecumenical Patriarch, and not interfere with the election of his successor, return confiscated properties to the church, convert the Hagia Sophia back into a museum, and reopen the Halki Seminary.

I am aware of Turkey’s treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and I strongly support President Biden and Secretary Blinken’s urgency in supporting religious freedom for religious minorities in the region. I look forward to supporting the Orthodox Christian community in this fight and promoting joint action among all faith leaders.

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