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Historic Meeting

by Fehmi Koru, Zaman on . Posted in Repercussions from Gülen–Bartholomeos Meeting

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Gülen also surprised everyone by extending the hand of friendship to Bartholomeos I. This comprises a full test for the Phanariot Patriarchate and the Patriarch. If he understands that this hand represents the Anatolian Muslim people and makes a sincere effort to fulfill the duty that has required self-sacrifice from the other party, not only will he increase his power in the world, but he also will make a tremendous contribution to universal peace. If he wants to hold this within the boundaries of a public relations maneuver or a method for appearing sympathetic, he will have prepared the way for disappointing developments in both areas.

I believe that with the good will of both parties, this historic encounter will be the beginning of broad and productive efforts. Is it that difficult to end the difficulties of Turks in Western Thrace or open a mutual educational institution that will implant the tolerance mission in Greece? We know that the Patriarch does not represent the Greek government, but still we cannot refrain from hoping that he will use his prestige on the Greek politicians who come to kiss his hand.

The meeting between Fethullah Gülen and Patriarch Bartholomeos I is a first step toward the dispersal of centuries-old suspicions regarding the Patriarchate in Turkey. We believe that the parties who showed the courage to take this step will be able to use their influence in much simpler matters.