Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during a visit to Halki Seminary on İstanbul’s Heybeliada on Wednesday that he hopes to visit the now-closed institution as a functioning school during his next visit with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Tsipras is the first sitting Greek prime minister to visit the school. The seminary, which has been closed since 1971, is not an issue between the two countries but is rather a matter of civilizations, according to Tsipras.
“Let’s send a strong message of peace and friendship and reopen this school,” Tsipras said in remarks during his visit to Heybeliada with Erdoğan’s spokesperson, İbrahim Kalın.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in a speech also referred to his disappointment over the continued closure of the seminary.
“It is sad that a school that was opened during the Ottoman era was closed during the republic,” he stated and added that they keep praying for the reopening of Halki Seminary.