Turkey imposes systematic religious discrimination on minorities: Report

After more than a hundred years of its supposed secular underpinnings, institutionalized religious intolerance and racism in Turkey have continued to persist and have even accelerated in recent times, according to a report.

Ankara has brainwashed its population with the map of “Turkish migration routes”, which since independence from Turkey, has been used to decorate all the walls of primary schools during the period of the Republican People’s Party (CHP ), International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS ) said in a report.

This map was made in order to prove that the Turkic race migrated from Central Asia to all corners of the world and carried civilization and that the tribes that founded the ancient civilizations in Anatolia were basically Turks, the report says.

Turkey has also promoted and exported this idea through professionally produced Turkish serials of international standards, which focus on this racist and Islamic conquest, the report added, adding that in an environment where the masses are conditioned in this way, religious intolerance is only the natural logical end product.

Turkey is known to have a history of religious repression and mass killings in the name of Islamization, with the Armenian Genocide that took place over 100 years ago in 1915 being one of the most brutal examples.

Genocide was the systematic destruction of the Armenian people during the World War and was implemented mainly through the mass murder of approximately one million Armenians during the death marches to the Syrian desert and the forced Islamization of the Armenian women and children, the report said.

Although the genocide took place a hundred years ago, Armenians and Assyrians, who are very few in Turkey, continue their quest for rights and justice until today.

According to the report, even today, a child’s freedom of religion, the right to participate and the right of parents to raise their children according to their own philosophical or religious views are subject to systematic interference within the education system in Turkey.

The Turkish government has also tried to lay the groundwork to make religious (Sunni Islamic) education compulsory for children between the ages of 4 and 6, according to the report.

In addition, parents and students belonging to atheist, deist and agnostic groups do not have the right to be exempted from compulsory courses in religious culture and moral knowledge, the report further states.

Those who criticize religion or belief in general, particularly Islam, or certain interpretations of this religion or belief, risk being prosecuted under the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), the report adds.

Moreover, non-Muslim foundations in Turkey cannot even elect their board today. Elections to the board of these foundations have been prevented since 2013. As a result, the functioning of community foundations and the communities that benefit from them are crippled and weakened, the report says.

Pointing out that there is also a striking disparity in terms of the allocation of resources to different religions by the Turkish government, the report says that most resources from the public budget are directed only to the Sunni Muslim community for religious services.

Religious communities such as the Alevi community, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Armenian Patriarchate and the Protestant community are not even able to provide training to their religious leaders due to lack of resources, the report adds.

The report then called on Ankara to take immediate action to prevent religious violations by complying with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the opinions of the Human Rights Committee in the cases concerning freedom of religion or belief.

Sharon P. Juarez