Government Spokesman Criticizes Greek Patriarch Over Crucifixion Remarks

ANKARA - Turkish government spokesman Cemil Cicek joined on Monday Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to criticize Greek Patriarch Bartholomew who said he felt "crucified" in Turkey.

At a press conference after the cabinet meeting in Ankara, Cicek was asked about Bartholomew's remarks made at an interview with U.S. broadcaster CBS.

"Speaking to CBS' "60 Minutes" aired on Sunday, Patriarch Bartholomew said Greek Orthodox community in Turkey feel they are treated as "second-class citizens" and they feel they are "crucified" sometimes.

"Mr. Foreign Minister (Davutoglu) made a statement. It is also our statement," Cicek said.

On Sunday, Davutoglu said that he wished those remarks were a "slip of the tongue."

Cicek said AK Party government had been exerting important efforts in democratization and rights and freedoms since it came to power.

"It would be unfair to ignore all these," Cicek said. "I do not think a complaining manner about Turkey is appropriate."

Cicek also said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had met with Patriarch Bartholomew recently and discussed government's plans.

"So, demands should be voiced inside the country," he said.

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