“Turkey, considered a key U.S. ally in the war on terror, has been placed on a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) list of worst religious offenders, alongside countries such as Iran, Iraq and North Korea,” the Christian Post reports.
By Stoyan Zaimov
3/21/2012 Turkey (Christian Post) – Turkey, considered a key U.S. ally in the war on terror, has been placed on a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) list of worst religious offenders, alongside countries such as Iran, Iraq and North Korea – once known as the “axis of evil,” a phrase coined by former U.S. President George W. Bush in the wake of 9/11.
In the last few years, Turkey was present on USCIRF’s watch-list of countries that might be committing religious suppression, but its latest report, released in March and covering the period between April 1, 2011 and Feb. 29, 2012, has placed the Eastern European nation on its list of “countries of particular concern” category for its “systematic and egregious limitations” of religious freedoms.
This now puts Turkey in the same category as the “axis of evil” governments, along with Tajikistan, Myanmar, Egypt, Eritrea, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
The main reason for Turkey’s placement on the list has been cited as the country’s treatment of its Christian minority, which is constantly targeted and discriminated against. Christians are a distinct minority in Turkey – the CIA World Factbook reveals that Muslims make up 99.8 percent of the near-80 million population, while Christians and Jews account for only 0.2 percent.
Religious attitudes in Turkey in general are notably conservative – 59 percent of those who responded to a survey in 2009 said that members of other (non-Muslim) faiths should not even be allowed to hold meetings or publish literature about their beliefs.
Open Doors USA, an organization that exposes persecution and injustice committed against Christians worldwide, ranked Turkey as number 31 on its list of top 50 countries where persecution of Christians is most severe.