Greece’s prime minister says a potential move by Turkey to allow the reopening of an Orthodox seminary on an island off Istanbul would help bring ordinary Greeks and Turks closer.

Alexis Tsipras made the comments Wednesday during a visit to the theology school, which trained generations of Orthodox church leaders until it was closed by the Turkish government in 1971.

The school’s closure has been one of a range of issues that have divided the neighbors.

Tsipras said: “I want to believe we are near the day when . these halls will once again ring with the happy laughter of students.”

Turkey’s president has said the school could reopen if Greece took steps to improve Muslim minority rights in the country.

Tsipras is ending a two-day visit to Turkey.

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends a church service during his visit at the Theological School of Halki, in Heybeli Island, near Istanbul, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends a church service during his visit at the Theological School of Halki, in Heybeli Island, near Istanbul, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends a church service during his visit at the Theological School of Halki, in Heybeli Island, near Istanbul, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends a church service during his visit at the Theological School of Halki, in Heybeli Island, near Istanbul, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, left, hold a tree during their visit at the Theological School of Halki, in Heybeli Island, near Istanbul, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, left, hold a tree during their visit at the Theological School of Halki, in Heybeli Island, near Istanbul, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

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