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European Court Rules Against Turkey’s Religion ID

Designation on identification cards used to discriminate on basis of religion.

By Damaris Kremida and Will Morris

2/5/2010 Turkey (Compass Direct News) – A European court on Tuesday (Feb. 2) ordered Turkey to remove the religious affiliation section from citizens’ identification cards, calling the practice a violation of human rights. Religious minorities and in particular Christian converts in Turkey have faced discrimination because of the mandatory religion declaration on their identification cards, which was enforced until 2006. Since then, citizens are allowed to leave the “Religion” section of their IDs blank. The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights “is a good thing,” said Zekai Tanyar, president of the Turkish Protestant Alliance, citing prejudices against Christian converts. “[Religion on the ID] can cost people their jobs,” he said. “It has been known to affect whether they get a job or not, how people look at them, whether they are accepted for a post or an application of some sort. Therefore I think [the ruling] is a good and appropriate thing.”

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