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Nationalists force the cancellation of a concert wanted by the Patriarch of Constantinople

ICC Note: Turkish authorities revoke permission for the Christian Orthodox Youth Conference’s closing concert, a month after deciding that the leader of the worldwide Orthodox Church would no longer be allowed to act as such.

7/14/07 Turkey (AsiaNews) – Yet more tensions between the Turkish Authorities and the Ecumenical Patriarchate: today permission was revoked for the concert of the famous Greek singer song writer Dallara, also well known in Turkey , which was to have closed the II Conference of Orthodox Youth organised by the Patriarchate in Istanbul . The move comes in the wake of pressure exerted by Turkish nationalists strongly opposed to the initiative.

The diplomatic and academic world describes the move as “damaging to the country’s image” and expresses their “great disapproval”. Conference participant’s number one thousand, gathered in Istanbul since July 12th, while a further 2 thousand had been invited to the concert among them civil authorities and embassy representatives. The event was to have taken place in the historic Istanbul castle, Rumeeli Hisari

Recent weeks have seen an increased pressure against the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the part of the Turkish authorities: June 26th the Supreme Court contested the title “ecumenical” of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, defining it simply as a “Turkish” body, and spiritual guide of the Greek-orthodox minority in the country. According to the court, Bartholomew I can no longer use the title “Ecumenical Patriarch” for the Orthodox world.

The full respect of minorities and religious freedom is one of the principal themes on the agenda in negotiations for Ankara ’s entrance to the European Union. The question of the recognition of the juridical character of the non Muslim communities is the first which needs to be addressed in order to insure that which is still not possible in the country today, such as for example the formation of religious and the acquisition of property (NT)