[November 29, 2006] Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed an EU-inspired law to improve the property rights of non-Muslims, the president's office said on Wednesday.
The so-called foundations law, which fell short of European Union expectations, affects Greek Orthodox, Syriac and Armenian communities, and was approved after months of fierce debate in officially secular but predominantly Muslim Turkey.
The Great Church is a dead shell. One enters it, and one is struck by its immensity and antiquity. But then, as one walks about it, one is struck by something else: its stasis. The house of God has no God in it, no worshippers of any kind, and no future to complement its past. The other great churches of Christendom are at the least well-preserved, and most even have active congregations. Aggressively secular Paris manages to find congregants -- and funds -- for Notre Dame. The Basilica of St Peter retains an active glory. St Mark's in Venice, nearest to the Hagia Sophia in decor and form, is yet alive with something more than tourists. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is patrolled by prickly monks of various denominations. ... And among them, only the Hagia Sophia is dead. It is a metaphor and a warning -- of the Ecumenical Patriarchate under the Turks, and of Christianity under Islam.
Dear brothers and sisters, in this visit I have wanted to convey my personal love and spiritual closeness, together with that of the universal Church, to the Christian community here ..., a small minority which faces many challenges and difficulties daily. With firm trust let us sing, together with Mary, a magnificat of praise and thanksgiving to God who has looked with favour upon the lowliness of his servant (cf. Lk 1:48). ... Mary teaches us that the source of our joy and our one sure support is Christ, and she repeats his words: "Do not be afraid" (Mk 6:50), "I am with you" (Mt 28:20).
Benedict XVI, in Ephesus