Saturday, May 31, 2008

Turkey passes law for alternative language TV channel

Turkey passes law for alternative language TV channel
Turkish parliament passed a law Thursday to launch a 24-hour TV channel on State-run TRT with Kurdish-language programming along with some other dialects and languages, including Arabic and Farsi.

Minister: Muslims not free in Turkey

Minister: Muslims not free in Turkey | WORLD | NEWS |
Turkey's foreign minister has come under fire at home for telling the European Union Muslims were not fully free to practise their religion in Turkey.

Turkish Christians in distress

Turkish Christians in distress - Radio Netherlands Worldwide - The State We're In
Pastor Ihsan Ozbek does his best to shield his flock and his young children from the daily threats that arrive at his doorstep. Leading one of the largest congregations of the tiny Christian minority in Turkey, Ozbek has watched a troubling transformation of the relationship between his parishioners and the large Muslim majority in recent years.

A surge of religiously motivated violence has resulted in the violent murder of three church members and brazen attacks on priests and has created a general sense of isolation and trepidation amongst Turkish Christians. This has been compounded by a growing nationalist sentiment in Turkish society that Christians seek to undermine the nation's sovereignty by promoting a faith that is seen by many as Western.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Secular Turks attack religious council's code for women

Secular Turks attack religious council's code for women | World news | The Guardian
A powerful state body regulating the role of Islam in Turkey has come under fire over an article on sexual behaviour that equated flirting with adultery and condemned women for wearing perfume.

Secularists and women's groups hit out after the directorate of religious affairs (Diyanet) published the article on its website setting out recommendations for proper sexual conduct.

Invoking the prophet Muhammad, it put the onus squarely on women by urging them to cover up and behave modestly to avoid provoking male sexual desires.

"Women have to be more careful, since they have stimulants," the article stated. "The women communicating with strange men should speak in a manner that will not arouse suspicion in one's heart and in such seriousness and dignity that they will not let the opposite party misunderstand them, that they should not show their ornaments and figure and that they should cover in a fine manner."

On the use of perfume, it continued: "His highness the prophet Muhammad did not think kindly of women who put on perfumes outside their homes and go strolling and saw this as immoral behaviour."

The article said women and men should not be alone together unless married and questioned the role of females in mixed-gender workplaces. It blamed "social and moral" decline in the west for the legalisation of abortion.

The article was widely condemned in the pro-secular media. Yusuf Kanli, a columnist in the English-language Turkish Daily News, said it reflected a "very primitive mindset", adding: "Is this mentality at all different with that of the Taliban that placed Afghan women behind chadors?"

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Bible correspondence website connects with more people

Mission Network News
Bible correspondence courses have a long history of success in Turkey, and the Internet is increasing their impact.

AMG International made contact with almost 20,000 people through newspapers and the Internet in 2007, and a record 450,000 different people visited the its correspondence course website in Turkey. An article on the website titled “What should I do to become a Christian?” was read more than 17,000 times.

Visitors to the website may also chat one-on-one with a Christian chat operator. This ministry provides personal explanations of the Gospel to visitors, some of whom decide to become Christians or get baptized. Over 2,000 chat conversations took place in 2007.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why don't mosques produce an annual report?

A Turk asks a question about the financial accountability of mosques in Turkey:

Ertugrul Ozkok: Why don't mosques produce an annual report?
This report raises in my mind the question of "Can places of worship have annual reports, budgets and balance sheets?" My answer is: "Yes". And they should because: When these earnings of a place of worship are not clearly and openly presented to the religious community, the funds that are collected from the well-meaning religious community can be used for unrelated activities; these adverse activities are slowly leading to the deterioration of society.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Catholics hope Turkey opens church for St Paul Year

Catholics hope Turkey opens church for St Paul Year | International | Reuters
The Roman Catholic Church hopes a year dedicated to Saint Paul, born two millennia ago in Tarsus in today's southern Turkey, will bring signs of more religious tolerance in the mostly Muslim but secularist country.

On The Rise of Islamic Rule in Turkey

On The Rise of Islamic Rule in Turkey | EuropeNews
According to one of the eighty Islamic theologians involved, “The Koran is our basic guide. Anything that conflicts with that we are trying to eliminate.” According to Mehmet Görmez, a senior lecturer at Ankara University, “We want to bring out the positive side of Islam that promotes personal honor, human rights, justice, morality, women’s rights, respect for the other.” To promote the spread of Islam in the 21st century, the Turkish theologians want to redefine how Muslims must practice Islam.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Flinders University students plan to excavate Biblical site

AdelaideNow... Flinders University students plan to excavate Biblical site
FLINDERS University students could be among the first to uncover the last remaining unexcavated site connected to the New Testament.

After 10 years' work on the project, Flinders theology and archeology students, led by College of Divinity lecturers Dr Michael Trainor and Dr Alan Cadwallader, could begin excavating the site with Turkish scholars in December.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Turkish society’s perception of Christianity (2)

The problem with this study is the sample is only 90 people. You can't take 90 people out of a countries population and make sweeping generalizations about the entire country.

They were asked how they would feel if they had Christian neighbors or if there was a church in their neighborhood and their neighbors attended this church's services. The findings from these questions overlap with the answers from the questions about overall perceptions of Christianity. A large majority of participants stated that they would not be bothered by Christian neighbors or the existence of a church in their neighborhood. Of the study's participants, only five respondents said they would feel uneasy having a Christian neighbor. These participants said they were worried such a neighbor might "set a bad example for their children."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Turkish society’s perception of Christianity (1)
Kudret Bülbül*

"Turkish Society's Perception of the West" (Seta Yayınları: 2008), a study conducted by Bekir Berat Özipek, İbrahim Kalın and myself, tried to find answers to these questions. The study employed in-depth interviews with more than 90 participants who were selected from among ordinary people in 10 provinces across Turkey, and the interviews contained questions that inquired into the perceptions that have recently dominated Western public opinion.

To sum these results up, in the first approach
to Christianity, participants tend to use a reverent language toward
Christianity. The second approach defines Christianity as "a different
religion." The third approachhighlights that Christianity "has been

Thursday, May 15, 2008


All five culprits arrested last spring for the savage murder of three Christians in eastern Turkey have proclaimed their innocence, declaring they did not personally kill any of the victims.

In their court testimonies completed Monday (May 12) at the sixth hearing before Malatya’s Third Criminal Court, the five young Turkish men have defended themselves by blaming each other for the killings.

All have insisted that they had not planned to murder anyone and that no individuals or group instigated their raid on the Zirve Publishing Co. office in Malatya on April 18, 2007.

Main Article

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No plans to return church, says Turkey

Religious Intelligence - News - No plans to return church, says Turkey
There are no plans to return the Byzantine St Paul’s Church in Tarsus to the Roman Catholic Church, Turkish government officials said last week.
No plans to return church, says Turkey

On May 10, the Turkish Daily News reported that officials from the town of Tarsus said they were unaware of any request made by Cologne's Archbishop Cardinal Joachim Meisner on behalf of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference to return the Church of St Paul to ecclesiastical control.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Germany to Turkey: Show Some Respect for Christians

PoliGazette » Germany to Turkey: Show Some Respect for Christians
If the West sees that Christians are truly tolerated in Turkey, the attitude towards Turks will become more positive. It is that simple. Many people in the West say about Muslim immigrants who ask of them to change because the population is changing “why should we? When we go to your country you won’t change for us either. If Christians want to exercise their freedom to worship as they see fit in the countries where these Muslim immigrants come from, they often run into trouble.”

Mosque for church bid in faith barter

Mosque for church bid in faith barter - Turkish Daily News May 09, 2008
German bishops calling for the rededication of a former church in Tarsus feel that it would be very helpful toward the acceptance of Turks in Germany if a sign of acceptance of Christians were to be seen in Turkey. Yet, others feel that this reciprocity amounts to a veiled threat.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Turkey told to return ancient church

Religious Intelligence - News - Turkey told to return ancient church
ROMAN CATHOLIC leaders will support mosque building in Germany, if the Turkish government returns the Church of St Paul in Tarsus to church control and permits the construction of a pilgrimage centre.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Three men, one of them armed with a gun and wearing gloves, threatened a Protestant church and its pastor in the Turkish capital city of Ankara yesterday. The culprits fled in a car before police could be summoned.

The attempted attack marked the seventh incident in the past four months of threatened violence against Turkey’s tiny Protestant community, most of whom are former Muslims who converted to Christianity.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Turkish Alevis fight back against religion lessons

Turkish Alevis fight back against religion lessons | International | Reuters
Dancing to express their piety, the young women and men in a solemn circle are part of a Turkish religious community whose members say they are fighting assimilation by the government.

Turkey's largest religious minority, some 15 to 25 million people across the country share the Alevi faith. It has roots in Islam but is steeped in shamanist tradition, and has never been recognized by the Turkish state.

Monday, May 05, 2008

US report raps state control over religion in Turkey

TODAY'S ZAMAN - US report raps state control over religion in Turkey
A US religious freedom watchdog group has displayed a critical approach towards understanding secularism in Turkey while taking note of significant restrictions on religious freedom for Muslims as well as for religious minority communities.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Turkey consumes most expensive gas in the world

Turkey consumes most expensive gas in the world - World & Local News Portal
Turkey has the highest gasoline and diesel prices in the world due to high taxes and profit margins in addition to soaring oil prices, new energy data has revealed.

The price of a liter of gasoline reached $2.6 and diesel $2.4, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) data. With the recent price hikes, gas and diesel prices hit YTL 3.48 and YTL 3.03, respectively.