Re-opening of Halki Theological School Feasible in the Near Future, Erdogan’s Associate

FILE - Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, left, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew pose for the photographers at the Theological School of Halki, in Heybeli Island, near Constantinople, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Former Turkish Minister for European Affairs and close associate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Egemen Bagis characterised Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Turkey “A good visit that has the potential to develop into a very successful “success story” for both parts”, speaking to Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Saturday.

He estimated that the re-opening of the Theological School of Halki is feasible in the near future and based his optimism on the fact that “President Erdogan and Prime Minister Tsipras sent this signal at their joint press statements after their meeting in Ankara.
“Both sides will gain many things. It would be a win-win solution for all the involved parts, for Turkey, for Greece, for the European Union, for the allies, our citizens, the Turkish and the Greek people” said Bagis.

Referring to the tension in the Aegean, he said that he never understood the logic behind it because both countries are members of the NATO and should cooperate.

On the Cyprus issue and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasides’ upcoming meeting with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci at the end of February, Bagis noted that “maybe the time has come for them to resolve their differences and find an mutually acceptable solution” underlining that the solution of Cyprus issue may be the key, not only for the relations between Greece and Turkey but also for the relations between EU and Turkey and mostly for the economic prosperity of Cyprus.

Referring to Turkey’s European ambitions, he said that it is a “non political, national target” and praised Greece and Greek European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos’ for their support in Turkey’s European course noting that “Turkey in the European Union would mean a more friendly and benign neighbour and for Greece”.