‘Even’ atheists’ rights to be protected: Turkish PM
VAN – Anadolu Agency
'We said we would protect the Muslim’s law, the Christian’s law, the Jew’s law, and even the atheist’s law,' PM Erdoğan said while addressing the public at a mass opening ceremony in the eastern province of Van. AA photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his government will “even” protect the rights of atheists, vowing to avoid segregation based on both religion and ethnicity.
“We have said we will maintain the same distance from all ethnic groups; we will serve them at the same level,” Erdoğan said Oct. 27 while addressing the public at a mass opening ceremony in the eastern province of Van.
“We also said we won’t do religious nationalism. In other words, we said we will protect the Muslim’s law, the Christian’s law, the Jew’s law, and even the atheist’s law,” he said, claiming the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had started its political life with these objectives.
The prime minister said serving all parts of the country, whatever their religion or ethnicity, was the duty of the government.
“This means that whatever we are doing for the east we will do the same for the west, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, the Aegean or the Marmara. There won’t be any segregation. We said we will maintain the balance with the help of God,” he also said.
Touching on the province’s Akdamar Armenian Church, which was re-opened with limited permission for worship in 2007, Erdoğan also said it was the government’s duty to make sure every group within the nation could perform the duties of their religion.
“To maintain the opportunity for worship is your [state’s] duty. I do this as an Islamic, humanitarian, conscientious and legal duty,” he said.