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Turkey’s Religious Minorities Restricted by Authorities

MP Garo Paylan’s motion was important, and has immense implications. The Turkish government has repeatedly demonstrated contempt for the minority populations and Christian history and heritage of Asia Minor, as we have seen in the conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora to mosques, and the conversion of other ancient churches to mosques as well. This contempt for Christianity and Christians is also manifested in the ongoing denial of property rights and legal identity to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

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

“Turkey’s Religious Minorities Restricted by Authorities,” International Christian Concern, November 14, 2021:

11/14/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Minority religious communities are fighting imposed restrictions and discrimination in Turkey. Member of Parliament Armenian Garo Paylan submitted a proposal to allocate educational funding to Armenian, Greek, Jewish, and other minority communities….

Unfortunately, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) rejected Paylan’s motion. He argued that the minority communities were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and that students attending minority schools should receive additional funding to “represent a simple measure of justice, in accordance with the declared intention [of] Turkish authorities not to encourage discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds.”

Foundations linked to religious minorities struggle to renew their boards and governing bodies. Non-Muslim places of worship and initiatives are regulated by the Turkish authorities and the ability to renew governing bodies interrupts the faith activities of minority communities. Turkey is thus unwilling, or unable, to protect the rights of religious communities and religious freedom.

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