Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Armenian Patriarch to Boycott Church Inauguration In Turkey

"The Armenian Apostolic Church said on Tuesday that it will boycott the high-profile inauguration of an ancient Armenian church in Turkey, in protest against the Turkish government's failure to reinstate it as a place of worship."
Armenian Patriarch to Boycott Church Inauguration In Turkey

Religious Affairs uneasy with 'imam' characters in movies

Another example of how Turkey is not a truly "secular" state:

"A report on the representation of Islam in Turkish cinema has been released by the Religious Affairs Directorate.

In the study, conducted by Ömer Menekşe, an expert working for the directorate, it was found that the "imam" character has been used indirectly to denigrate Islam as a religion in Turkish cinema. Menekşe's study classified Turkish films into "films that take an offensive attitude to Islam," "films that denigrate Islam" and "films that portray Islam as it is."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Turks restore church loved by Armenians | �

"An ancient Armenian church, perched on a rocky island in a vast lake, has become a modern symbol of the divisions and fitful efforts at reconciliation between Turks and Armenians whose history of bloodshed drives their troubled relationship.
The Akdamar church, one of the most precious remnants of Armenian culture 1,000 years ago, deteriorated over the last century, a victim of neglect after Turks carried out mass killings of Armenians as the Ottoman Empire crumbled around the time of World War I."

"Next week, the church will showcase Turkey's tentative steps to improve ties with its ethnic Armenian minority, as well as neighboring Armenia.
Turkey completed a $1.5 million restoration of the sandstone building, and invited Armenian officials to a ceremony there this Thursday to mark what Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has called a "positive" message."
Turks restore church loved by Armenians | �

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Turkish Christians Hope for More Rights After Vote

"The spiritual head of Orthodox Christians said on Monday he was hoping that the situation for the Christian minority in predominantly Muslim Turkey would improve after the country's elections due later this year."

""We want that our country makes changes and reforms not under the pressure of any other country or of Brussels, but because this is needed for the Turkish people," he said.

"We are part of the Turkish society, were born in Turkey, studied in Turkey, are working in Turkey, and we shall die in Turkey," he said. "So we want to feel not as citizens of a second class but as citizens of equal rights to the majority."
Turkish Christians Hope for More Rights After Vote

Monday, March 12, 2007

In the name of love

"Everybody -- journalists, party leaders, the president of the republic, the chief of general staff -- found harsh words to condemn the murder of Hrant Dink. But don't they see that there is a link between what they are writing, saying and preaching in their daily professional lives and what happened to Hrant?

How can one condemn his murder and still argue for the absurd Article 301, which brought him to court multiple times for nothing but his opinion?"

"Turkey produced both Hrant Dink and the 17-year-old boy who killed him. And let's not forget the thousands of people who marched in solidarity and chanted, "We are all Hrant Dink! We are all Armenians!"

This is Turkey, and its future depends on whether it produces more Hrant Dinks -- who live in the name of love -- or more 17-year-old boys who kill in the name of hate."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ex-Muslim tells how he became Christian

"He knew it was a crazy thing to do for a man who not long before had been training Muslim militants in Iran. But Daniel Shayesteh was angry, and he was hunting someone.

So the former Iranian revolutionary stepped into a Christian church in Istanbul, Turkey, looking for his business partner, an occasional worshiper there who had just fled town with Shayesteh's money.

Shayesteh never found him, and he never got his money back. Instead, he said, he found a new life of freedom and love -- one that now takes him around the world making impassioned arguments for the power of Christ to bring peace to the Middle East and release Muslims from the bondage of what he calls a religion "full of anger."

Muslim converts to Christianity are few and far between, especially from the ranks of militant extremists. Islam is a religion that itself seeks converts. And in many Islamic countries, a Muslim who leaves the faith for another faces persecution or even the death penalty."
Lexington Herald-Leader | 03/10/2007 | Ex-Muslim tells how he became Christian

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Turkey Blocks Youtube

Turkey joins China and South Korea in restricting residents internet access:

"Following a decision rendered by the Istanbul Court of Peace, Turk Telekom, a Turkish Internet service provider, is denying Internet access to the popular Web site You Tube.

The court delivered the verdict due to videos on the Web site, which, according to the court, contained insults to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. These videos have been uploaded from Greece. Actually since Jan. 5, there has been a Greek-Turkish clash on You Tube. A three-minute video was uploaded to YouTube from Turkey, showing homosexuals with Greek flags which outraged Greeks. Then, a YouTube user from Greece with the username "Stavraetos" uploaded an animation video onto YouTube in which Atatürk applies lipstick. The video was around 33 seconds in length. After receiving almost 220,000 letters , YouTube removed the video."

"Kürşat Çetinkoz, head of the Liberal Office, an organization for freedoms, said it was a case of censorship and not acceptable. "You Tube is very useful in sharing videos and information. Closing the site for a single tasteless video of some fanatic Greeks is just like burning a blanket for one small flea."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Church vs. State in Turkey?

"A decision made on April 12, 2002 by the Cabinet of the coalition government made up of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP, now ANAVATAN) with Bülent Ecevit as prime minister, foreseeing the allocation of funds for the electricity expenditures of places of worship, has put the Religious Affairs Directorate in a difficult situation."

"After receiving a negative answer to their request for the funds to pay their electricity expenses based on this decision, churches in Turkey decided to pursue legal action."