Reps. Maloney, Bilirakis Introduce Resolution Urging Turkey
to Respect the Rights and Religious Freedoms of the
Ecumenical Patriarch

WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), founders and Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, have introduced H.Res. 999, a resolution urging Turkey to meet the standards of the European Union for the protection of human rights by respecting the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarch ( ). Nine of their colleagues joined them as original co-sponsors of the resolution.

Congressman Michael Bilirakis

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney

“It is imperative that Turkey meet its accession criteria for joining the European Union,” said Maloney. “Turkey must respect and recognize the Ecumenical Patriarch’s international status and allow the reopening of the Theological School at Halki. It is time for this suppression of religious freedom to come to an end.”

Joining Maloney and Bilirakis on the resolution are: Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Diane Watson (D-NY), Michael Doyle (D-PA), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Robert Andrews (R-NJ), and Joe Baca (D-CA).

BACKGROUND: The Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, founded by Congresswoman Maloney and Congressman Michael Bilirakis in 1996, includes 142 Members of Congress. The purpose of this bipartisan caucus is to foster and improve relations between the United States and Greece. The Caucus serves to bring a renewed Congressional focus on key diplomatic, military, and human rights issues in a critical part of the world. Some of the topics on which the Caucus focuses include U.S. aid to Greece and Cyprus, the conflict on Cyprus, U.S. relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and recent developments in the Aegean.

(Posting date 21 September 2006)

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