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ICC Note: In what some are terming as an act of revenge or religious antagonism, Turkey has decided to build a major Islamic Education Center next to the Halki Seminary. This seminary is traditionally the primary school for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and has been shut down by the authorities since 1971. Christians in Turkey regularly report that they are unable to officially train their own leaders. They also report that it is illegal to “evangelize” those under 18 years. Opening an Islamic center next to Halki Seminary given these circumstances demonstrates the depth of challenges Turkey’s Christians face and the need for historical perspective.      

08/02/2018 Turkey (Bianet) –   Presidency of Religious Affairs Administration Services General Director Haydar Bekiroğlu has said that “Islamic Education Center” will be built on land of 200 decares in Heybeliada.

As part of the project, Bekiroğlu listed items such as ”International Theology Program Students, terror victim students from East and Southeastern regions, students studying at group A and B Quran Courses, providing course of belongingness and values to students from abroad”.

Speaking to bianet, Architect Korhan Gümüş stated that the sanatorium and Çam Port are also on this land and said:

“This matter is being politicized. This politics is of course a politics of tension remaining from past.

“People look at it in terms of religious antagonism, not İstanbul or Turkey.

“A halki seminary was built there in the past. Building Islamic Education Center right next to it gives the feeling of revenge.

“This is like old fears haunting us again in Turkey. It’s like these people don’t live in this country, there’s this fear that those people are spies of foreign countries. Shadow of such fears is falling upon cities.

“We’re inside the stage of political representation”

“Paradox is this. Struggle for the Atatürk Cultural Center, the grand mosque built in Taksim, struggle for Taksim. It is now taking place on a different level and we have to realize it.

“We’ve increasingly started to live in an aquarium intensified within stage of political representation.

“This matter of memory was covered up in Yassıada by calling it natural heritage.

“Today, following the same reasoning might backlash.

“For this reason, before the project, we have to try to talk about this matter to learn how to deal with these ghosts that haunt us as to the heritage and history”.

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