Turkey Knocks Down Monastery
Posted by antikafirphobia on January 28, 2008
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) – The Orthodox Church says it’s a historic monastery, and the Turkish government describes it as old pig farm. A dispute over a dilapidated structure highlights tension over Turkey’s religious minorities, a key concern as the European Union considers membership for the Muslim-majority nation.
In November, forest ministry officials knocked down part of a building that the church said was a monastery on Heybeliada, an island in the Sea of Marmara off Istanbul. They said renovation there was illegal because it was taking place on government property.
Now the ruins are the subject of a legal battle between the government and the Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarchate, which has been hosting Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during his trip to Turkey this week, the first by a Greek premier in almost five decades.
Greece has been an advocate of the Greek Orthodox minority in Turkey, though Greek opposition parties have blamed the government for not doing enough to support the dwindling community.