A new report was published by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee which evaluates religious freedom in Turkey during the first quarter of 2019. The report finds that Turkey has failed to hold religious freedom abusers accountable, and that these type of experiences are widely reported by religious minorities.
The report cites multiple reasons for this failure. One the one hand, the burden of proof is difficult to obtain. There is also a fear among victims that bearing witness to their abuse would increase greater exposure to these challenges, and also cause employment loss.
The situation of Christian converts is heavily explored in the report. It documents how Christian converts face rampant discrimination if they reveal their new belief. Turks are not allowed to leave the religion field blank in their identity documents. If a Turk petitions for an exemption from the compulsory Religious Culture and Ethics courses, then they must prove their change in religion.
Ethnic Christian groups also face significant challenges, and are still suffering the consequences of genocide. The government regularly interferes within internal church affairs. Their heritage, such as churches which have remained empty since the genocide, are continuously targeted in hate attacks.
Date published: 08/09/2019
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