Sunday, June 26, 2005

Ankara's Batikent Protestant Church wins water case

"A court decision denying free water access for Ankara's Batikent Protestant Church, despite the fact that mosques, mescits, and Koran courses in the municipality all receive free water, was overturned by Turkey's Council of State.

In overturning the decision by Ankara's 7th Administrative Court to deny the Batikent Protestant Church free water, the Council of State noted that such denial was "anathema to equality," and that "differentiation according to religion" was unfair."

"Batikent Protestant Church's Pastor Daniel Wickwire, of the US, said regarding the Council of State's intervention in his church: "This is a very generous decision; it should be an example to other churches."

Wickwire thanked the Turkish justice system for its help, saying "This is what secularism means. I would like to thank the Turkish justice system, and would like to note that we always trusted in it. These sorts of decisions also ring up big points for a Turkey preparing to enter the EU. They are good advertisement for Turkey." Wickwire talked about the role of the Batikent Protestant Church in Ankara, a church which stands side by side next to a mosque: "We are not an enemy, but a friend. We have no political goals, and we are not competing for anyone." Wickwire repeated that his desire was very simply that whatever rights were extended to mosques be extended to churches in Turkey.

Pastor Wickwire noted this was the second case he had been involved in, and that in the past, he had come head to head against the Ministry of the Interior and the Yenimahalle Municipality. Recalling that both the ministry and the municipality had tried to have the church displaced, Wickwire said that the victory in that case was the "first time a protestant church had won" in Turkey. Wickwire himself received his doctorate degree from Ankara University's Department of Religious Studies, and has been residing in Turkey for 20 years. He noted that the local municipality had not yet begun to implement the decision brought down by the Council of State in the water case, but that he hoped that they would begin shortly."
Turks.US Daily News - Ankara's Batikent Protestant Church wins water case Daily News

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