House of Lords written question – answered on 8th November 2013.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 22 October (WA 190), what further action they intend to take bilaterally with the government of Turkey, rather than through European Union mechanisms, to encourage the re-opening of the Greek Orthodox seminary on Halki Island.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The UK has not made specific bilateral representations to the Government of Turkey over the future of Halki seminary.

We do discuss wider issues concerning Freedom of Religion and Belief with our Turkish interlocutors and are encouraged by recent steps taken by the Turkish government to improve protections for religious minorities. However, we share the EU’s assessment that more needs to be done, including training of clergy and legal “foundation status” for religious minority organisations.

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