17/04/2022 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled after 13 years that Turkey’s compulsory religion course violates religious freedom and human rights. Islamic courses are compulsory, although there are currently provisions that allow Christians and Jews to be exempted. Religion classes were voluntary until the 1980s.

“It’s a late decision, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a Turkish human rights lawyer. “Local courts often ignore the decisions of the ECHR, but they must now take into account those of the Constitutional Court. Turkish courts also continue to ignore requests from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to release Osman Kavala.

The long-held view of anti-Christians and anti-minorities in Turkey is perpetuated by President Erdoğan who has criticized inter-religious dialogue efforts in the past, saying there can be no dialogue between Islam and Islam. Christianity in a November 2016 speech. Turkish prosecutors cited interreligious dialogue with Jews and Christians as criminal evidence against the Gülen movement in early March 2022.

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