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Bilirakis Has Productive Dialogue with Turkish Officials as He Seeks to Improve Relations in Eastern Mediterranean

July 16, 2021
Press Release

Bilirakis Has Productive Dialogue with Turkish Officials as He Seeks to Improve Relations in Eastern Mediterranean

 

Washington, DC: Congressman Gus Bilirakis recently met with Turkish Ambassador to the United States Hasan Murat Mercan.  The two had an open and frank discussion regarding pressing issues currently facing the international Hellenic community and Orthodox Christians.  Congressman Bilirakis shared his concerns on a number of critical matters, including:  the current status of the seaside city of Varosha in the Turkish occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus, the threats to sovereignty by Turkish military overflights on Greece’s Dodocanese islands, the continued closure of the Theological School on the Turkish island of Halki, the possibility of allowing the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on designated holy days in the Hagia Sophia (the mother church to more than 350 million Orthodox Christians worldwide), and the exploration, discovery, and drilling of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

“While I normally don’t see eye to eye with Turkey’s policies, I’m hopeful after meeting Ambassador Mercan that we can make positive steps towards tamping down tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean by working to improve Turkey’s relationship with important U.S. allies Greece and Cyprus, and furthering religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis.