Friday, January 04, 2008

No freedom of religion in Turkey...

As Turkey is trying to convince the world in general and the EU in particular, about their religious freedom, below you will find an article about the intolerance the Turkish state imposed on non Suni Muslims and other religions. This is not an act of the AKP party but institutionalized the last 60 years.
While Turkish citizens are crying that there is no place to worship in Europe, Turkish people over there knows better: their Mosques and school are funded with government money. Even cultural centre's are established for a better understanding.

The ignorance or arrogance of some Turkish people is astonishing.
The article below is from here

"In Turkey, the freedom in need of expansion is freedom of religion. While each of the issues that is currently on the agenda is a priority issue, each also touches on a broader question which remains off the agenda: freedom of religion and belief in Turkey itself.

A significant problem facing religious groups in Turkey is the nation’s biased religious registration laws. Registration is required for religious leaders and institutions to serve the spiritual needs of their constituents.
Currently, the Sunni branch of Islam is the only “state-sanctioned” form of religion.
The Alevi Islamic Community is not recognized as a separate religious group and is instead considered to be a de-facto group within Sunni Islam. This lack of distinct recognition severely limits their ability to form their own houses of worship and leaves them suspect to the laws of the state that pertain to Sunnis.
The Shi’a community is not recognized as a separate legal entity either.
The Armenian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, and Jewish communities are recognized as having “a special legal minority status.” However, this only applies to the individuals within these communities and not to their religious institutions, which severely hinders the ability of these groups to perform a wide range of functions necessary to maintaining and serving the needs of their respective adherents.

All other religious groups, including the Roman Catholic Church, mainline Protestant and Evangelical groups, have no official legal status within the Republic of Turkey.

Religious education is another significantly contentious religious freedom issue in Turkey.
There are two aspects of religious education that are particularly troublesome: the first is that Turkey requires a majority of its population to take state-mandated religious education classes; the second problem is the current restrictions that religious groups face in properly educating their clergy. Turkey currently requires all Muslims in the country, regardless of their sectarian affiliation, to partake in religious education classes.
Minority religious groups are exempted from these religious classes. The Alevis, and other Turkish Muslim minority groups, claim that these classes teach only the Sunni form of Islam that advances religious beliefs that are in conflict with their own religious teachings. These groups also complain that many of these mandatory classes actually demean and dismiss their beliefs.
Many other minority religious communities in Turkey face serious problems in educating their believers.
In 1971, the Turkish government closed all university-level religious schools, both Muslim and Christian.
There are numerous restrictions in place that hinder the ability of these institutions to reopen their doors, such as a requirement that all students be Turkish citizens, a very serious problem for Greek Orthodox clergy.
The government argues that these restrictions are necessary to prevent radical Islamic groups from opening their own religious schools that could spread a violent and extremist form of Islam.
These restrictions disproportionately burden the nation’s religious minorities.

The Greek Orthodox population has fallen to approximately 3000 people over the past several decades. They do not have a large enough population to maintain the primary Greek Orthodox seminary in Turkey – the Halki Monastery. Halki Monastery was among those university-level religious institutions closed by the government, and it faces numerous restrictions to reopening.

The Turkish Government will currently not allow any foreign students to be educated at Halki. Without foreign students, there are not enough Turkish Greek Orthodox seminarians to maintain an official seminary. In addition, due to legal restrictions mentioned above, this Monastery cannot call upon foreign seminarians to travel to Turkey to train the students of the Monastery.
In approximately a generation, the Greek Orthodox population will no longer have the capacity to train new theological leaders. Furthermore, due to legal restrictions that any religious leader in Turkey must be a citizen and be educated in Turkey, within a few years there will be no one that is eligible to be the new Patriarch of Constantinople. As a result, this religious group will have no way of practicing its faith or continuing its traditions. Without the ability to practice their faith or continue their traditions, the Greek Orthodox community will slowly disappear to the pages of history. The continued closure of Halki threatens the very survival of Turkey’s ancient Greek Orthodox minority and the “primus inter pares” of Orthodoxy, the Patriarch of Constantinople.
Turkey’s Greek Orthodox community is a victim of a silent genocide as their population, religion, and way of life are eroded over the years by actions taken by the Turkish government.

The Government periodically meddles in the internal functioning of religious communities. The Higher Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of the Government in a dispute over the Greek Orthodox Patriarch.
The government refused to recognize the use of the term “ecumenical” in reference to the Patriarch. This means that the Turkish government refuses to recognize the Patriarch as leader of anything more than the country’s small Greek Orthodox community, in contrast with the esteemed position that the Patriarch holds amongst other Orthodox communities worldwide.
As the government only allows Turkish citizens to be members of the Orthodox Church hierarchy, this condition places a great strain on such a small population.

Another cause for concern in Turkey is the recent string of attacks against Christians. In January 2007, a protestant church in Samsun was severely vandalized. In April, three workers at a Bible house in the city of Malatya were viciously murdered. The victims’ throats were slashed, and a fourth person inside the building was attempted to escape by jumping out of a window and was severely wounded. It is imperative that the international community pressure Turkey into prosecuting those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.

Every community of faith needs the freedom to practice their religion without worrying about either themselves or their religious institutions being physically harmed."


Dimitris said...

This is a revealing story.
Do the Turks and their Religion are superior?
I expect more from a candidate EU country.

Tamar said...

Without going into a debate about the Armenian suffering, its obvious that the Turkish state educated their children not well.
Thanks for this posting.
Soon you will be seen as a traitor as well..))

Ert@n said...

wtf.. i just cant understand how anonymous read your blog if he can not put sentences together..

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Ertan, I know people who can read English fluent but writing and speaking it is another story.
Anyway, comments are removed.

müzi said...

i am against religious institutions. they turn religion into ideology, which is just dangerous. so yes, i am against christian institutions, orthodox institutions or whatever kind of instutionalisation of religion in Turkey, including Islam. churches, synagogs or mosques are enough to perform religion. yes, some minority groups have some difficulties to perform their religion in Turkey. but i don't think that the situation in Turkey is worse than the situation in Greece. i hope to read more from the co-writers on how difficult it is for the muslims living in Greece.