Turkey appeals ECHR ruling on compulsory religion classes in schools
Güven Özalp BRUSSELSTurkey has appealed the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) ruling that said high school students must be allowed to opt out of religious education classes, which are currently compulsory.
ECHR had ruled in a Sept. 16 decision that the Turkish education system was “still inadequately equipped to ensure respect for parents’ convictions” and violated the “right to education,” in a case stemming from Alevi complaints about mandatory religious classes.
Turkey appealed to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber, the court’s office of appeal, on the last day available to do so, requesting that the case be reviewed.
In 2011, applicants Mansur Yalçın, Yüksel Polat and Hasan Kılıç, who are all adherents of the Alevi faith and whose children were at secondary school at the time, complained that the content of the compulsory classes in religion and ethics in high schools was based exclusively on the Sunni understanding of Islam.
They claimed that this violated Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights Protocol No. 1 (right to education).
“Turkey has to remedy the situation without delay, in particular by introducing a system whereby pupils could be exempted from religion and ethics classes without their parents having to disclose their own religious or philosophical convictions,” the court had stated in its ruling in the case of Mansur Yalçın and Others vs. Turkey.