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Turkey Bars Meeting of Orthodox Leaders

ICC Note: The Turkish government continues to show its inability to respect religious liberty and the rights of minorities in prohibiting the meeting of two Christian leaders in Ankara .

8/21/07 Turkey ( – The Orthodox Church of Cyprus announced that the Turkish government cancelled a visit between two Christian leaders in Ankara .

The meeting between Chrysostomos II, Orthodox archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus, and Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople , was to take place last Friday.

Chrysostomos II declared that with this refusal Ankara “has shown its real face,” a press release from the Cyprus Embassy to the Holy See reported.

He is ready “to edit a letter addressed to the Holy See and to the World Council of Churches, in order to inform them,” and “to awaken the international community on how unreliable the Turkish government is about human rights.”

Chrysostomos II said he is prepared to meet the ecumenical patriarch elsewhere, “in order to show his solidarity with him and to thank him once again for its contribution in the solution of the problems arisen within the Greek-Orthodox Church .”

The archbishop of Cyprus confirmed there are no disagreements between Greek-Orthodox people and their Turkish-Cypriot brothers.

The problems, he said, are from “the interferences by the Turkish government, which stops any attempt of integration between the two communities in mutual respect.”