Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Turkish Police Official Axed amid Allegations in Murders

Compass Direct News
The head of Turkey’s police intelligence department was removed on Friday (Oct. 16) amid allegations that he failed to prevent the murder of the Christian editor of an Armenian weekly and the slayings of three Christians in this city in southeastern Turkey.

Ramazan Akyurek is also accused of withholding evidence in those cases and improperly investigating the murder of a Catholic priest in 2006.

Turkey Christians disappointed: government won’t protect them

Turkey Christians disappointed: government won’t protect them

Hopes for improvements in the rights of religious communities in Turkey in 2009 have once more come to nothing, notes Otmar Oehring of the German Catholic Charity Mission in a commentary for Forum 18 News Service.

Alevi Muslims broke off formal talks with the government over denial of their rights. A high-profile lunch with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in August 2009, attended by five religious minority leaders, including Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, was followed by a visit to two Greek Orthodox sites. But no concrete improvements ensued.

Intolerance promoted by Turkey's mainstream media has markedly reduced, but local and ultranationalist newspapers and websites still promote such intolerance. No verdict was reached in 2009 in the long-running trial over the 2007 murder of three Protestants in Malatya, or over the long-running attempts to prosecute two Protestants accused of "defaming Islam". Dr Oehring argues for a fundamental change in the attitudes of both society and the government.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lawyer Calls Turkish Christians' Trial a 'Scandal'

Lawyer Calls Turkish Christians' Trial a 'Scandal' | Christianpost.com
After three prosecution witnesses testified yesterday that they didn’t even know two Christians on trial for “insulting Turkishness and Islam,” a defense lawyer called the trial a “scandal.”

Speaking after yesterday’s hearing in the drawn-out trial, defense attorney Haydar Polat said the case’s initial acceptance by a state prosecutor in northwestern Turkey was based only on a written accusation from the local gendarmerie headquarters unaccompanied by any documentation.

“It’s a scandal,” Polat said. “It was a plot, a planned one, but a very unsuccessful plot, as there is no evidence.”

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Turkey may remove Koran class age limit

Turkey may remove Koran class age limit - UPI.com
The Turkish minister of labor and social security says the country's law against children under 12 taking courses on the Koran may be abolished.

Minister Faruk Celik said placing an age restriction on classes about the sacred book of Muslims was not appropriate, Bianet reported Wednesday. Under the Turkish Constitution, religious education in schools is compulsory .

"Apart from that, religious education and teaching is up to the individual preference and to the request of the minor's legal guardian," he said of the constitutional requirement. "There is no such thing as age limitation."