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ICC Note:

“The Diyanet, or Presidency of Religious Affairs, is a state institution reporting to the Prime Minster’s Office and exerts a very large influence on the extent to which freedom of religion or belief can be enjoyed in Turkey,” Forum 18 News Service reports.

By Mine Yildirim
 
5/4/2011 Turkey (Forum 18 News Service) – The Diyanet, or Presidency of Religious Affairs, is a state institution reporting to the Prime Minster’s Office and exerts a very large influence on the extent to which freedom of religion or belief can be enjoyed in Turkey, Forum 18 News Service notes. Massive state financial and institutional support of the Diyanet along with its activities – including its biases against Muslim and non-Muslim beliefs it dislikes – make it difficult for people inside and outside the Diyanet’s structures to exercise freedom of religion or belief. This has been reinforced by the latest law governing the Diyanet, which increases its influence without addressing its current incompatibility with Turkey’s human rights obligations. For a political party to propose removing the Diyanet from the state’s structures would render that party liable to be closed down under Turkish law. Despite the need for change in the Diyanet-state relationship, civil society proposals for change have been described by the government as “unjust” and “too assertive for such a sensitive issue”.

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