Thursday, November 24, 2005

Turkey under pressure on minority religious rights

"The European Commission has criticised Turkey for infringing Christian and minority religious rights, a month after the country began talks with the aim of joining the 25-nation European Union, writes Jonathan Luxmore for Ecumenical News International.

"In practice, non-Muslim religious communities continue to encounter significant problems: they face restricted property rights and interference in managing their foundations, and they are not allowed to train clergy," the commission says in its 2005 report on Turkey's progress towards joining the EU."

Non-Turkish Christian clergy continue to experience difficulties with respect to the granting and renewal of visas and residence and work permits. Religious textbooks have been redrafted to address the concerns of Christian minorities. However, it is still not possible for clergymen and graduates from theological colleges to teach religion," the report said.

Christians have often complained of pressure in Turkey, most of whose 67 million inhabitants are Sunni Muslims, but which is officially a secular state."
Turkey under pressure on minority religious rights - news from ekklesia

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