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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Not a country in which you'd want to live

Turkey likes to think of itself as an enlightened, westernized country, worthy of admission to the European Union. But according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom's annual report, Turkey is not such a country. Far from it (Hat Tip: Joshua I).
However, the Turkish government‘s formal, longstanding efforts to control religion by imposing suffocating regulations and by denying full legal status to religious institutions results in serious religious freedom violations. The government has failed to take decisive action to correct the climate of impunity against religious minorities and to make the necessary institutional reforms to reverse these conditions. Instead, Turkey continues to intervene in the internal governance and education of religious communities and to confiscate places of worship. The alleged involvement of state and military officials in the Ergenekon conspiracy, which included alleged plans to assassinate minority religious leaders and to bomb mosques, is also of serious concern, as is the alleged use of preventive arrests to repress critics of the AK Party. Also concerning is the rise in anti-Semitism in Turkish society and media. Additionally, Turkey‘s military control over northern Cyprus supports a web of arbitrary regulations implemented by the local Turkish Cypriot authorities, which results in serious limitations on religious freedom.


In Turkey, the site of Constantinople, which was the center of Byzantine Christianity from the 4th to the 15th century, only some 90,000 Christians remain, less than 0.2 percent of the population. As this report makes clear, they are now being suffocated by a web of state regulations that cripple their ability to pass on the faith to the next generation, and make it difficult even to carry out worship services. Turkey also has about 23,000 Jews, 10,000 Baha‘is, 5,000 Yezidis, and 3,300 Jehovah‘s Witnesses.

Turkey has never held a transparent investigation into charges of genocide against its Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek populations in the early part of the 20th century and makes it a crime of ―insult‖ even to raise this issue. Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was convicted for such ―insult,‖and he was murdered in 2007; the murder trial continues to drag on, raising a legitimate concern that justice may be denied.
No wonder they support Syria, Hamas and Iran.

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At 10:46 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The EU is not going admit Turkey as a full member in our lifetime.

An Islamist Turkey inside the EU? You have got to be kidding!

Its not a country that deserves to be in Europe.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

@NormanF: hopefully the EU will disintegrate soon. Otherwise the unelected dictatorship of the Fourth Reich - I mean EU - will force this on us!!

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

This is from today's FT, re Turkey. It is registration only so I have cut and pasted this part:

Please respect FT.com's ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0cc72202-bb7f-11df-a136-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1LIPbwbta

Turkey can be a boon in Brussels

By William Hague and Alexander Stubb
Published: September 8 2010 23:48 | Last updated: September 8 2010 23:48
When European Union foreign ministers meet in Brussels this weekend, we will both be calling for our counterparts to recognise Turkey’s increasing role and influence on the world stage. The UK and Finland support Turkey’s goal of becoming a member of the EU. But its accession process is moving slowly. We believe the EU should not wait until Turkey joins to benefit from the strength of its relationships. But only by having a seat at the table will Turkey be able to contribute fully to the security and prosperity of the EU’s member states.

Hague the arabist is pushing for it.


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