Mosque and school spark new feud between Turkey and Greece

ET: ATHENS: Greece and Turkey, which share a history marred by bitter territorial disputes and Christian-Muslim feuds, are at loggerheads once again over religion.

The latest row erupted after Greece flatly rejected the idea of reviving two Muslim mosques in Athens in return for the reopening of an Orthodox clergy school in Turkey.

Mosques have been a thorny issue for a long time in Greece, where the population is predominantly Greek Orthodox. Athens is one of the few European capitals without an official mosque.

The Halki seminary has also been a subject of controversy. The Orthodox clergy used to train in the school located on an island off Istanbul but it was closed in 1971, after Turkey fell out with Greece over Cyprus.

Turkey, a country where Muslims make up 99 percent of the population, recently decided to give back to the seminary lands that had been seized in 1943, but there was no talk of reopening.

“While we return something, we have the right to expect the return of other things,” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said he wanted two mosques revived in exchange for the seminary.

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