Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baseless Case Against Turkish Christians Further Prolonged

Baseless Case Against Turkish Christians Further Prolonged
Barely five minutes into the latest hearing of a more than three-year-old case against two Christians accused of “insulting Turkishness and Islam,” the session was over.

The prosecution had failed to produce their three final witnesses to testify against Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal for alleged crimes committed under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code. The same three witnesses had failed to heed a previous court summons to testify at the last hearing, held on Oct. 15, 2009.

This time, at the Jan. 28 hearing, one witness employed in Istanbul’s security police headquarters sent word to inform the court that she was recovering from surgery and unable to attend. Of the other two witnesses, both identified as “armed forces” personnel, one was found to be registered at an address 675 miles away, in the city of Iskenderun, and the other’s whereabouts had not yet been confirmed.

So the court issued instructions for the female witness to be summoned a third time, to testify at the next hearing, set for May 25. The court ordered the witness in Iskenderun to submit his “eyewitness” testimony in writing to the Iskenderun criminal court, to be forwarded to the Silivri court. No further action was taken to summon the third witness.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Assailant in Street Attack in Turkey Ordered Released

An Istanbul court has ordered the release of a jailed Turk who publicly threatened and held a knife to the throat of a Christian he attacked six months ago. In a ruling on Wednesday (Feb. 10), the Kadikoy Seventh Court of First Instance convicted Yasin Karasu, 24, of making death threats and mounting an armed attack against Ismail Aydin. Shouting to attract passersby as he held a knife to Aydin’s throat on Aug. 3, Karasu had denounced the Christian as a “missionary dog” who had betrayed Turkey by leaving Islam and evangelizing others. The crime is punishable by four years in prison, but Justice Tahsin Dogan ruled that Karasu should be released unconditionally, without serving the remainder of his sentence. “It seems that the judge did not take into account at all that this crime was committed with religious hostility,” one member of the legal committee of Turkey’s Association of Protestant Churches told Compass. “That, in my view, should have aggravated the crime and sentence.”

Court blocks religious college proposal

turkey: Court blocks religious college proposal
Turkey’s highest administrative court has ruled against a government-backed move to make it easier for students from religious training colleges to go to university, the Anatolia news agency has reported.
The Council of State blocked the implementation of a proposal made in December by the Higher Education Board (YOK) to change the way study marks are assessed, the agency said.
The YOK wanted to change the coefficients applied to the grades of students from religious colleges, called Imam Hatip schools, which currently make it difficult for them to get on university courses other than theology.
Imam Hatip schools are state-run establishments that train imams, and defenders of Turkey’s secular system sometimes accuse them of being breeding grounds of Islamism.
In November the Council of State blocked a similar proposal from the YOK that was hailed at the time by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose Justice and Development Party has its roots in a now-banned Islamist movement.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Overwhelmingly negative attitudes toward Jews in Islamic countries

World Jewish Congress
A survey of attitudes has found that the populations of nearly all predominantly Muslim countries hold a negative attitude toward Jews. The Pew Research Center’s survey, which was carried out in mid-2009 in 25 countries, found that 98 percent of Lebanese, 97 percent of Jordanians and Palestinians and 95 percent of Egyptians hold an unfavorable view of Jews. However, only 35 percent of Israeli Arabs said they disliked Jews. In Turkey, the figure jumped from 32 percent in 2004 to 73 percent in 2009.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

European court rules against religion box in ID cards

European court rules against religion box in ID cards
Listing religions on identity cards, whether obligatory or optional, is in violation of human rights, the top European human rights court ruled on Tuesday in case filed by a Turkish citizen who is a member of the Alevi community.