Posted Jul. 3, 2014 @ 3:30 pm
After reading Rockford Register Star executive editor Mark Baldwin’s column “Fruits of diversity abound in Turkey,” one would think Turkey must be a nation that welcomes ethnic and religious diversity.
Sadly, that is not the case. Historically, the region that is now Turkey has seen a multitude of religious and ethnic groups. That diversity, however, is the stuff of history and not the present. The Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul numbered more than 100,000 in the mid-20th century, but is now less than 3,000, largely due to nationalistic violence targeting Christians.
Turkey forced the closure of Istanbul’s Orthodox seminary in 1971. As a result, the church can no longer train priests. Turkish law requires that the patriarch be a Turkish citizen, but without the ability to train Turkish priests, the current patriarch may be the last one.
There are other statutory limits on the freedom of Christians in Turkey. Churches may not erect a steeple. The display of crucifixes is severely restricted. Christian-owned property has been confiscated. Does this sound like a welcoming, diverse society? As a reporter, isn’t it Baldwin’s duty to be more than a spokesman for the Turkish government and report on Turkish reality?
— Steve Vaughan, Rockford