Posts Tagged ‘Turkey European Union’

Turkey Reacts to Patriarch Bartholomew

December 21, 2009

Well, here’s no surprise – Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu doesn’t like what Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has to say about the persecution of Christians in Turkey and their taking up of the Cross.   He “graciously” allowed His Holiness  an opening for apology and back pedaling when he said

We regard the use of the crucifixion simile as extremely unfortunate…. I would like to see this as an undesired slip of the tongue.

If you watched the achingly sad interview you’ll know that every word Patriarch Bartholomew used was carefully and thoughtfully chosen for just the message it conveyed – a passive-aggressive and unreasonable government that unfairly singles out the remnants of a conquered ethnic group that just won’t go away fast enough.  One thing that so affected me about the interview was the poignancy of Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the last remaining Byzantine Greeks, trying to preserve the faith in what was once their own country, oppressed by the muslim descendents of what were once faithful Orthodox Christians.  It’s the same feeling you get with the Copts – how galling that they are a minority in their own country, under persecution by those who, centuries before, were once Copts themselves.

60 Minutes also posted a couple of extra videos that further highlight the de-Christianization of Turkey and the land of Palestine.   These two clips reinforce the sadness and thorough way in which Islam has supplanted the Christian faith in the Holy Land and Turkey.  It is not the “truth” of Islam at work, but the Great Deceiver working through the tide of history, conquest and persecution. (By the way, Dr. Maria C. Khoury, seen in the interview in Taybeh, Palestine, is a popular author of children’s books and a tireless supporter of the last remaining Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land.  Pray for her and for the Christians of Taybeh.)  

For an earlier post, click here to go to Patriarch Bartholomew on 60 Minutes

Advertisements

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on 60 Minutes

December 18, 2009

This Sunday, December 20th at 7 p.m. EST / 6 p.m. CST, His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will be interviewed on 60 Minutes about the Church and the difficulties it faces in Turkey.   The short trailer   surprised me and I hope it reflects the tone of the whole segment.  I’ve never heard His Holiness speak so directly about the oppression the Church endures.   Patriarch Bartholomew, aside from being a religious leader, is a well-versed politician.  His politically sensitive words always seem chosen to keep him balanced between drawn knives.  This interview is sure to raise someone’s blood pressure.

While I’m at odds with the Patriarch’s moves to control the American diaspora and his media-fueled elevation to the role of Orthodox “pope”, I still respect him as an Orthodox Patriarch and can certainly understand where he’s coming from on this issue.  This is a fight for the very survival of the Christian faith in one of its oldest communities, and fighting these days is about media presence.

I hope this news story will do some small part to expose the true nature of the Turkish government even while it scrambles to put its best face on for the EU admission process.  What I think is obvious is that the Turkish government and the country’s rising Muslim fanaticism will finish off the Turkish Christian minority in the 21st century if something drastic is not done soon. 

If you’re thinking this is overreaction, how about a plot by Turkish naval personnel to kill a target list of approximately 939 non-muslims and to bomb homes and places of worship.  Or  the Syriac Orthodox priest ordered under threat of death by muslim extremists  to tear down his church’s bell tower as reparation for the Swiss minaret ban.  I’ve got a limit here or I could give you a hundred more examples of threats, attacks, vandalism, and discrimination directed against Christians in Turkey.    

So by all means, European Union, admit Turkey and see what you get.