Text: H.Res.732 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (02/07/2018)

[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Res. 732 Introduced in House (IH)]


  2d Session
H. RES. 732

   Urging Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the 
                        Ecumenical Patriarchate.



                            February 7, 2018

  Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York (for herself and Mr. Bilirakis) 
submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee 
                           on Foreign Affairs



   Urging Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the 
                        Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the spiritual home of the world's oldest 
        and second largest Christian Church;
Whereas within the 2,000-year-old Sacred See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 
        New Testament was codified and the Nicene Creed was created;
Whereas Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is one of the world's preeminent 
        spiritual leaders and peacemakers representing over 300 million Orthodox 
        Christians worldwide;
Whereas the disappearance of the See would mean the end of a crucial link 
        between the Christian and the Muslim world since the continuing presence 
        of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey is a living testimony of 
        religious co-existence since 1453;
Whereas Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was awarded the Congressional Gold 
        Medal, the highest award bestowed by the United States Congress, and he 
        coordinated with religious leaders around the world to issue a 
        condemnation of the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States as 
        an anti-religious act;
Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarchate has a record of reaching out and working for 
        peace and reconciliation amongst all faiths and has fostered dialogue 
        among Christians, Jews, and Muslims;
Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarchate co-sponsored the Peace and Tolerance 
        Conference in Istanbul which issued the Bosphorus Declaration that 
        stated, ``A crime committed in the name of religion is a crime against 
Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stated in Brussels in 2004, ``The 
        Ecumenical Patriarchate is a supranational ecclesiastical institution . 
        . . which demonstrates religious tolerance as a beautiful reality. For 
        we bear respect toward all of our humans, irrespective of their faith. 
        Without any trace of fanaticism or discrimination on account of 
        differences of religion, we coexist peacefully and in a spirit that 
        honors each and every human being.'';
Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has called for the admission of 
        Turkey into the European Union because, ``. . . it may provide a 
        concrete example and a powerful symbol of mutually beneficial 
        cooperation between the western and Islamic worlds and put an end to the 
        talk of the clash of civilizations. This in turn would be a true 
        strengthening of Europe and the European ideals that converge with the 
        values of the `pilgrims of the book' spoken of by the current Prime 
        Minister of Turkey.'';
Whereas in 1993 the European Union defined the membership criteria for accession 
        to the European Union at the Copenhagen European Council, obligating 
        candidate countries to have achieved certain levels of reform, including 
        stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, and 
        human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities;
Whereas under the terms of the draft European Union Constitution, current, and 
        prospective member states should have the goal of eliminating 
        discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnic or social origin, 
        genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other 
        opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, 
        age, or sexual orientation;
Whereas the Turkish Constitution secures religious rights for all Turkish 
Whereas the Government of Turkey has failed to recognize the Ecumenical 
        Patriarchate's international status;
Whereas the Government of Turkey has limited candidates available to the Holy 
        Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to Turkish nationals and reneged on 
        its agreement to reopen the Theological School at Halki, thus impeding 
        the training for Orthodox clergy;
Whereas the Government of Turkey has confiscated 75 percent of the Ecumenical 
        Patriarchate properties and has placed a 42-percent retroactive tax on 
        the Balukli Hospital of Istanbul which is operated by the Ecumenical 
        Patriarchate; and
Whereas the European Council has agreed to open accession negotiations with 
        Turkey, conditional upon the continuation by Turkey of reform processes 
        to increase protection and support for human rights and civil liberties: 
        Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) based on the goals set forth in the draft of the 
        European Union Constitution, calls on Turkey to eliminate all 
        forms of discrimination, particularly those based on race or 
        religion, and immediately--
                    (A) grant the Ecumenical Patriarchate appropriate 
                international recognition and ecclesiastic succession;
                    (B) grant the Ecumenical Patriarchate the right to 
                train clergy and to elect Holy Synod members from 
                candidates of all nationalities, not limited to Turkish 
                nationals, who fall under the international 
                ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical 
                Patriarchate; and
                    (C) respect human rights and property rights of the 
                Ecumenical Patriarchate;
            (2) calls on Turkey to pledge to uphold and safeguard 
        religious and human rights without compromise;
            (3) calls on Turkey to respect international law, European 
        Union laws, and the basic tenets of human rights; and
            (4) expresses its view that Turkey must prove that it is 
        ready to meet the criteria set forth by the Copenhagen European 
        Council prior to its accession into the European Union.