RIGHTS > Turkish Protestants highlight problems

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Hate crimes directed at Christians continued in 2012 as well as physical attacks carried out against Protestants and their churches, according to a 2012 Human Rights Violations Report from the Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey.

The report, aired yesterday by the association’s Committee for Religious Freedom and Legal Affairs, listed some 10 hate crime incidents that occurred in Turkey.

The report also read that the ability for Protestants to establish and continue to use places of worship remained a problem.

“Even though there were some gains this year regarding the establishment of associations and congregations

gaining official legal status, a complete solution is still lacking. Along with some positive developments, there were still problems with part of the compulsory Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge classes (RCMK) in schools. Neither was there movement forward in 2012 in the area of protecting the rights of Christians to train their own religious workers,” the report read.

The report further highlighted that some foreign religious workers and members of congregations had to leave Turkey because their visas were denied or they were deported, and that the religion category on national identity cards remained in 2012, continuing to increase the risk of discrimination.

On the other hand, some positive and hopeful developments were noted.

In 2012, work began on the possibility of Christian students being given lessons on Christianity. The textbooks and curriculum have begun to be prepared with the help of Protestant congregations themselves. The Protestant community was invited to the Constitution Reconciliation Committee and granted the opportunity to give their opinions on the new Constitution being written.

Complaints of Protestant students being forced to attend compulsory religious culture and moral knowledge classes as well as religion lessons have also declined, as the Ministry of Education has in recent years increasingly informed schools of Protestant students’ exemption from the courses.

There were no places of worship closed in 2012, even though one facility used for worship received a closure notice, and there were no problems with requests to celebrate Christmas in public areas, according to the report.

“We rejoice that there were no attempts to hinder or harass the holiday celebrations that were done in a format open to the public.”


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Notice on comments

Brian Irlanda

1/21/2013 1:48:42 PM

First we had mysticism, cults, superstition, the dark ages. We developed as a species into logical, reasoning, scientific beings. It began with the Renaissance. We continued our technological rise, understanding the true nature of the universe, and life on this planet, we landed on the moon and sent vehicles to the farthest reaches of our solar system. The future held endless possibilities for humanity to advance and grow. Now we seem to be devolving. Soon we will be howling at the moon again.

B Medic

1/18/2013 3:06:23 PM

@mesude salihli. Why do you believe Christians and Alevis will collaborate to destroy your state and your religion? They don't and they don't have any such ambitions. There is so much paranoia in Turkey against Christians, Alevis, Jews and other minorities. Even if their families have lived in Anatolia for centuries, they are not considered to be "real Turks" by many. Why are you so afraid of them Mesude?

mesude salihli

1/17/2013 2:10:08 AM

What happens if all these Christians and Alevis collaborate with the enemy to destroy our state and our religion one day, tell me?

mara mcglothin

1/16/2013 4:53:20 PM

DIREN It is simple. There is a course taught in the USA called "Introduction to Religious Studies" It is a very basic course that defines religious things, like rites, rituals, and what constitutes a religion. This is all any school needs to teach, and leave the indoctrination to parents in their homes or at their places of worship. It is so simple.

Huneybi Celebi

1/16/2013 1:43:17 PM

som are talkin how to build a base in mars. we are still talking about human right. incredible....

Engin Atik

1/16/2013 6:08:13 AM

Cemevis are places of worship.This is number one in the agenda. Protestant students would also appreciate.

Diren Sesel

1/16/2013 4:44:41 AM

Every student should learn the religions of other faiths not just Islam, for tolerant and healthy human being.
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