Title

The Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey: A Victim of Systematic Expropriation

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
2360 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
United States
Members: 
Name: 
Hon. Chris Smith
Title Text: 
Co-Chairman
Body: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Statement: 
Name: 
Hon. Hillary Clinton
Title Text: 
Commissioner
Body: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Witnesses: 
Name: 
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios
Title: 
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch
Name: 
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick
Title: 
Catholic Archbishop of Washington
Name: 
Dr. Anthony Limberakis
Title: 
M.D., National Commander
Body: 
Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle
Name: 
Dr. Bob Edgar
Title: 
General Secretary
Body: 
National Council of Churches
Statement: 

In this briefing, Co-Chairman Smith described the issue of the status of the Orthodox Church in Turkey and condemned Turkey’s practice of property seizures; continuous impediments to land ownership and church repairs; and the denial of legal status for the Ecumenical Patriarchate as direct contradictions to Ankara’s OSCE commitments. The progress that the Government of Turkey has made in its reform program as well as the actions that should be taken in the future to support its Orthodox citizens and to bring its laws and policies into conformity with OSCE commitments was also discussed.

Witnesses providing testimony at the briefing addressed a range of topics, including the confiscation of church property and other religious liberty violations undertaken by the government. A combination of personal experience and historical evidence was used by the witnesses to illuminate these violations and present suggestions for improving religious liberty in the future.

Relevant countries: 
Leadership: 
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