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01/01/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Turkey’s Energy Minister has suggested that the terms of the Lausanne Treaty should be renegotiated, reiterating a call from multiple other Turkish leaders. It is a suggestion that has increased in frequency as the 100 year anniversary of the treaty approaches in 2023.

The impact of the Lausanne Treaty on religious freedom issues is explored in ICC’s joint report entitled Turkey: Challenges Facing Christians 2016-2020.  In summary, the treaty established the modern Republic of Turkey and left significant gaps regarding the legal status of the country’s Christians. Entire denominations, such as the protestant and Assyrian communities, were left out of the treaty. It is an exclusion that allows the state to justify their persecution. For the Christian communities who are mentioned, the treaty gave no legal framework for which to allow them to practice their faith. As such, they are often held hostage by the politics of the government. This is particularly true of international politics.

At this stage, it is too early to know if Turkey is serious about renegotiating the Lausanne Treaty. However, given the amount of rhetoric from state officials, many Christians in Turkey are eying the year 2023 with the expectation that something will happen. How it will impact religious freedom remains an unknown that leaves many uneasy and concerned.

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