New Monitoring Report on the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) Freedom of Belief Initiative outlines in this report, covering the period from July 2014 to June 2015, the need for Turkish legislation and practice to be brought into harmony with human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief.
The report which was written by Dr. Mine Yıldırım, who has led the Freedom of Believe initiative since March 2013, and it finds that there are numerous old and new problems related to the exercise of freedom of religion or belief in Turkey that still await solutions.
For years, including during recent attempts to draft a new constitution, different religious or belief groups have expressed demands that political actors find permanent solutions to their problems in a participatory and inclusive way. International human rights protection mechanisms as well as Turkish court judgments have pointed to the need for Turkish legislation and practice to be brought into harmony with human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief. The post-election government will face the task of ensuring a true change for the better in this regard.
The NHC launched the Freedom of Belief Initiative in March 2013. The initiative built on an already existing initiative in Turkey, The Freedom of Belief Initiative (İÖG), led by Mine Yildirim, a Turkish expert in the field. The three years project, 2013-2016, aims at laying the foundation for a permanent Turkish human rights organization specializing on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).
The aim of the project is to improve respect and protection of freedom of religion or belief in Turkey. Monitoring, documentation, reporting, policy recommendations and advocacy are key activities of the project.