WASHINGTON – The US State Department sent two messages to Turkey regarding the reopening of the Theological School of Halki, an Orthodox Christian seminary, in its annual report on religious freedoms around the world in 2018.
During a press conference to present the report on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback referred to the issue of Halki seminary.
Both references were made during their introductory remarks, which summarise Washington’s views on the key problems and observations in relation to the issue.
“We urge the immedate reopening of the Theological School of Halki near Istanbul,” Pompeo said, while Brownback noted that the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued to keep it closed and asked that it be allowed to resume its operation.
Pompeo also referred to the imprisonment of US citizens in Turkey and noted that on a general level, while some progress had been made with respect to religious freedoms in 2018, “it was not an ideal year”.