03/09/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Turkey’s Association of Protestant Churches has released their 2019 Human Rights Violations Report detailing the state of religious freedom within the country.
Improvements for Protestant Christians were noted by the report, which saw a reduction in 2019 of hate crimes and public hate speech against Protestants. Many of the cases cited by the report had a judicial element. For example, an individual who visited a church in Antalya and made threats to the congregation was apprehended by the police but released by prosecutors since he denied these actions and there was no CCTV footage with audio providing otherwise. There were also no reports of church foundations or associations being prevented from worshiping.
Other areas represented a general worsening of the situation. The Association of Protestant Churches has regularly mentioned in reports the inability of Christians to train their own religious workers, an issue which has become more urgent with the passing of time. The report also noted that at least 35 foreign Protestants were barred from entering Turkey for no other reason than their faith. There is also a need for the Constitution Court to implement decisions regarding the requirement for one to declare or prove one’s faith to be exempt from Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge classes.
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