Friday, October 31, 2008

Turkey denies Christians church

BBC NEWS | Europe | Turkey denies Christians church
The Turkish government says it is "out of the question" for it to hand over a revered medieval church where Catholics want to hold Christian services.

The church, currently run as a museum, stands in the south-eastern town of Tarsus, where St Paul was born.

The Turkish constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but Christian groups in the country believe that in practice they face discrimination.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Muslim wives can use karate against violent husbands

SAUDIA ARABIA Muslim wives can use karate against violent husbands - Asia News
Women can use karate, judo and taekwondo in self-defence against violent husbands, this according to a fatwa that conservatives fear might “stir up rebellion” within families.

Originally issued in Turkey the fatwa was backed by Islamic scholars in Egypt and now has the seal of approval of Sheikh Mohsen al Obeikan, an adviser to the Saudi Ministry of Justice and a member of the Saudi Shura Council.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Murder suspect expected state support

Turkey: Murder suspect expected state support :: Inspire Magazine
Lawyers and judges in the case of three Christians murdered in Turkey in April 2007 are continuing to investigate whether the attack was masterminded by troubled youths or shadowy elements of the Turkish state.

Plaintiff attorneys believe the first witness at the hearing on 16 October, local journalist Varol Bulent Aral, incited the suspected ringleader of the attacks to murder by convincing him foreign missionaries were connected to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a domestic outlawed terrorist organisation.

The suspected ringleader, Emre Gunaydin, testified that Aral promised him state immunity for the planned murders. Aral, however, denied promising clemency to Gunaydin for murdering the three Christians.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

World's largets blog hosting service banned in Turkey

A court in south-east Turkey on Friday banned Turkish internet users from accessing Blogger, the world's largest free blog hosting service.
Internet users in Turkey discovered Friday afternoon that the site, which hosts millions of blogs, or web logs, had been blocked. When users tried to view a blogger's page they were redirected to a message which said: "Access to this website has been suspended in accordance with decision no. 2008/2761 of the TR Diyarbakir First Criminal Court of Peace."
No reason for the ban was given.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Turkish nationalism, Ergenekon, and denial of religious freedom

Forum 18 Search/Archive
A court case in Turkey has pointed to the existence of a secretive underground ultra-nationalist organisation Ergenekon, though this might merely be another name for the "deep state". The trial began near Istanbul on 20 October of 86 alleged members – from the police, army, business, politics and the mass media - on charges that they were plotting to overthrow the current Justice and Development Party (AKP) government by 2009.

Ergenekon members are alleged to have maintained deathlists of people, including Christians with a missionary background. The Malatya murder trial is revealing plausible links between Ergenekon, the "deep state" and the murders. But local officials – who are almost certainly not in an Ergenekon-type group – are also hostile to religious freedom. The Ergenekon case is part of a power-struggle between the "deep state" and the AKP government, but it is unclear whether the current trials will advance freedom of religion and belief. Given the threats to the day-to-day security and religious freedom of non-nationalist Turks, whether the government effectively addresses the roots of these threats will be crucial.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Turkey and Secularism: Myth or Reality?

Turkey and Secularism: Myth or Reality?
The rights of Christians and the Alevi Muslims are not equal in today's Turkey. In recent times many Christians have been murdered. For the more numerous Alevi Muslims, it is clear that they face huge discrimination. Secular Turkey is a myth because under the surface we find a different Turkey based on preserving the dominance of orthodox Sunni Islam.

So why do democrats and secularists praise Turkey for being a shining example and evidence that democracy and Islam can work together? Turkey favors Islam over any other religion and religious equality does not exist. On the contrary, modern day Turkey supports Sunni orthodox Islam and persecution of minorities is endemic. Given this, Islam still controls society and Christians and other minorities face harsh times.

Turkish newspaper website blocked after creationist's complaint

Turkish newspaper website blocked after creationist's complaint | World news |
The website of Turkey's third largest-selling newspaper has been blocked following a complaint by an Islamic creationist.

The case will revive concerns about the country's attitude towards internet censorship and press freedom.

A court ruled that Turkish web users should be denied access to the Vatan site after deciding it had insulted Adnan Oktar, a prolific writer who has disputed the theory of evolution.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Orthodox Christian leaders meet at the Ecumenical Patriarchate


Patriarchs, primates and representatives of all the Patriarchal and Autochephalous Orthodox Churches recommitted themselves to overcome intra-Orthodox conflicts as well as to continue theological dialogues with Christians from other confessions at a 10-12 October meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

Monday, October 13, 2008

TURK-7 celebrates fifth anniversary

Mission Network News
Christian broadcasting company TURK-7 is getting ready to celebrate its anniversary. TURK-7 has maintained a ministry in Turkey for five years, creating the means to encourage Turkish Christians.

"TURK-7 exists to help support the minority Christians who live in Turkey," says David Harder of SAT-7 .

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ecumenical Patriarch calls for "unity"

Ecumenical Patriarch calls for "unity" | Spero News
With a strong and heartfelt appeal for "the unity of the Church," the only way "to address the problems of the modern world," work began yesterday at the pan-Orthodox meeting in Fanar. The summit was organized by the ecumenical patriarchate, to celebrate the Pauline year, and is characterized by the presence of Church leaders and representatives from the entire Orthodox world, meeting together after many years. Among those present is Patriarch Alexy of Moscow, and for the first time, the attendance of the patriarch of Cyprus has not been blocked by the Turkish authorities.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Orthodox summit in Turkey in the name of Paul

TURKEY – GERMANY Orthodox summit in Turkey in the name of Paul - Asia News
Orthodox patriarchs are meeting tomorrow in Istanbul, in the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to celebrate the 2,000 years of Saint Paul’s birth. With the announcement that Aleksij II, Patriarch of Moscow will attend, the top leaders of Christian Orthodoxy will thus come together for the first time in many years. They include in addition to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I, Theodoros II of Alexandria (Egypt), Ignatius IV of Antioch (Syria) and Theophilus III of Jerusalem (Israel). The two-day summit includes meetings and a joint celebration.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Church discovered in Turkey one of worlds earliest

Church discovered in Turkey one of worlds earliest
The Derecik Basilica discovered in north-western province of Bursas Orhaneli town in Turkey in the year 2000 has been claimed as one of the worlds earliest churches that was constructed after Christianity was accepted as an official religion by the Roman Empire.