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Religious Minorities of Turkey: An Evaluation from the Perspective of Human Rights

Persecution of Christians in Turkey: the abstract below contains three key questions that stand out from the rest, although all these questions are vitally important: “Why are historical churches and monasteries owned by the State rather than by religious communities?” “Why does the government interfere in patriarchal elections when these should be, at every step, an internal matter for the religious community?” and “Why does hate speech targeting religious minorities go unpunished?”

This critically important report, accessible here, provides a history of the treatment of religious minorities in the Republic of Turkey and highlights the ongoing plight of those minorities, in particular the Orthodox Christian community and the official difficulties confronted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Even Orthodox Christians who are aware of the situation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will find this report enlightening reading. We hope that it will come to the attention of the relevant officials, who will be able to challenge the government of Turkey on religious freedom grounds.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“Religious Minorities of Turkey: An Evaluation from the Perspective of Human Rights,” by Orhan Kemal Cengiz, January 20, 2020:

Why can’t Christians open a legally recognized place of worship? Why are Alevi cemevis not recognized by the State? Why are historical churches and monasteries owned by the State rather than by religious communities? Why must a State regulation be issued before a handful of non-Muslims can elect administrators for their foundations? Why can’t these minorities choose foundation directors in any manner they wish? Why does the government interfere in patriarchal elections when these should be, at every step, an internal matter for the religious community? Why is Turkey’s legal framework for religious minorities confined to the Lausanne Agreement and a few Ottoman Era regulations? Why does hate speech targeting religious minorities go unpunished? Why have there never been any non-Muslim government officials? Why can’t religious minority groups commemorate their members who have been killed in massacres?

Read the report here.

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