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FDHRD Warns of the Exacerbation of the Turkish Regime’s Violation of the Rights of Minorities and Christian Sects, and Calls on the United Nations to investigate

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Press Release

Today, Tuesday, the Forum of Development and Human Rights Dialogue- FDHRD issued a report entitled “Religious Freedom in Turkey … Ink on Paper”, in which it monitored the violations of freedom of religion and belief in Turkey, and the Turkish regime, led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, interfering in the practices as well as the noticeable increase in incidents of vandalism and societal violence against religious minorities, and the Turkish regime’s sponsorship of religious intolerance against Christians to the extent that Christianity is on the verge of extinction in the country.

The report referred to the Turkish regime’s exploitation of the state of emergency that has lasted for two years since the alleged coup and the launch of the widest campaign to restrict the practice of religious rites for non-Muslims, including the closure of the Greek Orthodox Theological Institute.

It was also noticed during the Christmas holidays an increase in hate speech against some Protestant churches, and against the media that conduct investigations about certain places of worship, to sow fear in the hearts of believers who wanted to attend the celebrations on this occasion. The Turkish regime also pursued a policy of unjustified interference in the internal affairs of religious sects by preventing the election of board members for non-Muslim institutions and introducing new restrictions on the long-awaited elections for the patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church. In November 2019, a Turkish Supreme Court also issued a decision allowing the Chora Kariye Museum, a former Greek Orthodox church, to be converted back into a mosque.

Churches, such as: Kurtulus Church in Malatya, Balikesir Church, and Kadikoy International Church (Istanbul), were also attacked windows, drawing offensive drawings and scribbles on their walls were broken into.

In March 2017; Threats were sent to Radio Shema in Ankara, to kill a Christian broadcaster.

FDHRD called on the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief to implement his commitments in accordance with his mandate through Human Rights Council Resolution 6/37 and to investigate and publish the systematic persecution of religious minorities by the Turkish regime. Also, to address religious intolerance throughout the country, and to identify existing and emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief, the means of overcoming these obstacles; and to continue its efforts to study government facts and actions that contradict the provisions of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and to recommend remedial measures as appropriate.

The Foundation called on the Special Rapporteur to conduct country visits to Turkey to investigate the facts and submit his report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly and work to stop these violations. Top of Form

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