12/29/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – According to the annual global survey published by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey ranks second in the jailing of journalists, falling just behind China. This is yet another detrimental report detailing the seriousness of Turkey’s press freedom violations. Reporters Without Borders also ranks Turkey 154 on their press freedom index.
Turkey’s press freedom is vitally important to religious freedom, as detailed in ICC’s recently published joint report Turkey: Challenges Facing Christians 2016-2020. The press is used by the authorities to maintain a Turkish identity around Islam and erase Christianity from the collective memory of society. Such tactics are currently on display by Turkish press regarding the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh).
For example, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency ran an article on December 23rd entitled Albanian Churches in Karabakh and Endless Armenian Lies. This article was authored from Azerbaijan (whose press rating is 168) and is regarding the Dadivang Monastery. Such a publication is an example of a historical revisionism tactic used by both Azerbaijan and Turkey. As part of historical revisionism towards Dadivang Monastery, a tactic of dividing Christian voices was also used when Azerbaijan sent Udi priests from Azerbaijan to the monastery. On the one hand, Azerbaijan’s religious freedom status is so low that any Christians within the country cannot easily disagree with the authorities. By creating disunity within the broader Christian community, Azerbaijan is strategically maneuvering so that the Christian and even broader religious freedom community will have a harder time addressing the religious freedom abuses they are currently perpetuating.
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