Barnabas Aid - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
To join EU, Turkey should let Christians...

Email:

To join EU, Turkey should let Christians build churches

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

To join EU, Turkey should let Christians build churches

Country/Region: Turkey

Volker Kauder, chairman of the Christian Democratic Union in Germany
Volker Kauder, chairman of the Christian Democratic Union in Germany
Vorderstrasse / CC BY 3.0

A leading German politician has criticised Turkey’s record on religious freedom, saying that the country should allow Christians to build churches without restrictions if it wants to join the EU.

Volker Kauder, chairman of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, told a party congress last Wednesday (5 December) that he expected a “clear signal” on the issue from the Turkish government before membership talks, which began in 2005, could continue.

He said:

country that wants to be part of Europe must accept the basic principle of religious freedom. That means, that we expect Christians in Turkey to be able to build churches without any restrictions, just as Muslims build mosques here in Germany.

The EU has previously criticised Turkey’s treatment of its Christian community, which comprises less than 0.1% of the population. Despite Turkey’s having the veneer of a modern secular state, Christians face much discrimination, restrictions and occasional violence. The rights of churches to own property, conduct services and open other facilities such as theological schools are limited.

Despite Turkey’s human rights abuses, Britain has been a strong supporter of the country’s accession to the EU. Member states are divided on the issue.  

Mr Kauder’s comments come as the deadline for a draft of the new Turkish constitution looms with no sign of a consensus; the protection of freedom of religion or belief is one of the disputed issues.

Turkey’s Constitutional Reconciliation Commission (AUK) is meant to submit a draft to the Grand National Assembly by the end of the year. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that if the AUK cannot reach a consensus, his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will draft the constitution on its own.

A recent survey by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) found support within the country for constitutional changes that would protect freedom of religion or belief; 74.9% of respondents said that the new constitution should be compatible with international human rights obligations, which include freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

In this regard, Turkish society is ahead of the AKP, which has opposed the implementation of the country’s human rights obligations. Critics of the government say that it is trying to impose Islamic values by stealth. 

Turkish “secularism”, despite its name, involves close state supervision of religious activity. Just over half (50.6%) of respondents to the TESEV survey said that it should remain in the new constitution, while 47% said that they wanted this brand of secularism maintained on the condition that the state exercised an equal level of control over all religions. Non-Muslim minorities support the latter view.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

To join EU, Turkey should let Christians build churches

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Pray for the residents of Gorsi Tourou, a village in northern Cameroon that was ravaged in an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants on 6 June. They ran for their lives as more than 300 heavily armed men torched churches and houses and looted property. Cameroonian soldiers arrived around two hours later and were able to drive back the militants. Boko Haram has been wreaking havoc in neighbouring Nigeria, targeting Christian communities in particular in its bloody battle to establish an Islamic state in the North. Pray that the group’s evil activities will be restrained and that they will not be able to gain a foothold in Cameroon. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 10 hours ago

    • Heavenly Father, we pray for Kim Jung-Wook, a South Korean Christian who has been sentenced to hard labour for life in North Korea for “spying” and attempting to establish house churches in the country. We thank You that although prosecutors demanded the death penalty, this was commuted, but we pray that Jung-Wook will be sustained by You in his imprisonment and cruel treatment and will soon be released. We pray too for the dozens of North Koreans who were detained after Jung-Wook’s arrest in October on suspicion of helping him, and for the families of any who have already been executed. We pray for political change and religious freedom in North Korea, that it may be made legal to be a Christian and to take part in Christian activity. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Two Christian families in Uzbekistan who meet in a private home to read the Bible and pray together have been repeatedly fined and had property confiscated. Alisher Abdullayev and Veniamin Nemirov were originally fined in 2012 for unregistered religious activity and teaching religion “illegally”. They refused on principle to pay, claiming that they had not violated any laws. But earlier this year bailiffs went to their homes and confiscated a car, a mobile phone and household items. The men and their wives were then fined again, ten times the minimum monthly wage. Officers have also raided one of their meetings, filming and harassing those present and seizing religious literature. Pray that the authorities will stop targeting the families and that they will be left alone to study and pray in peace. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Leaders imprisoned for up to 60 days and members for up to 45 days; fines, corrective labour or community service: these are the penalties for taking part in religious gatherings in Kazakhstan held without state permission, according to a new criminal code. Those who finance unregistered religious activity will be liable to the same punishments as leaders. In addition, a new Code of Administrative Offences lays down a wide range of penalties for exercising the right to religious freedom. Both codes have been condemned by 119 Kazakh and international human rights groups and individuals. They further tighten controls on religious practice in a context where it is already much restricted. Pray for wisdom and courage for Christians in Kazakhstan as they seek to maintain their worship and witness. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks that 55 Christians, almost all church leaders and converts from Islam, received Bible training at a three-day seminar in Kyrgyzstan that was supported by Barnabas Aid. The participants have virtually no access to Biblical training, and so the studies were a great boost to their faith and ministry. Meeting fellow church leaders, who are all dealing with similar issues, such as isolation and persecution from Muslim relatives and local Muslim communities, was also very encouraging to them and gave them the opportunity to build up a Christian support network. Pray that the Lord will continue to speak to them through the Bible passages they studied at the seminar, and that He will bless their ministries. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Sep 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Aid 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Aid is a registered trade mark