Turkey urged to ease up on Greek Orthodox seminary

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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's top Muslim cleric has supported calls for the government to allow the reopening of a Greek Orthodox seminary.

Mehmet Gormez said that Thursday after meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I during the first visit by a Turkish religious leader to the Istanbul-based Patriarchate since 1923.

Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, said he hopes Halki Theological School will be allowed to reopen on Heybeliada Island near Istanbul.

The school stopped admitting new students in 1971 under a Turkish law that put religious and military training under state control and closed in 1985.

Mostly Muslim Turkey, which is seeking to join the EU, has small Christian and Jewish communities. The bloc has made improved rights for the religious groups a condition for membership.

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