01/18/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – According to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, anyone who is convicted of insulting Turkishness can face imprisonment of up to two years. Diyarbakir Member of Parliament, Garo Paylan, has submitted to the Minister of Justice a parliamentary question on the number of investigations the Ministry of Justice has launched based on Article 301.
The concept of Turkishness has historical roots which predate the founding of the modern Republic of Turkey. Historically, to be Turkish is synonymous with being Muslim. While the constitution says that modern Turkey is a secular nation, the constitution also protects the historical and moral values of Turkishness.
This puts Turkish Christians into a challenging position where their nationality is called into question as a result of their Christian faith. Thus far, this challenge is mostly reported on a community and social level. More broadly, however, the government has increased its power by using the cultural concept of Turkishness and the government continues to subject its citizens to arbitrary arrests.
The challenge raised by MP Paylan, while focused on broader issues in Turkey, highlights the challenges which Turkish Christians are increasingly having to navigate.
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