The refusal to recognize the cemevi [Alevi houses of worship] as a place of worship remains a serious infringement on the right to freedom of religion or belief and the identity of the Alevi, who constitute Turkey’s largest religious minority. While the right to establish places of worship is a fundamental human right, which Turkey has undertaken to protect in accordance with international human rights law, the current policies and decisions pertaining to cemevis are framed with reference to theological legitimacy, national unity and security concerns. As Turkey finds its way back to reform processes the Norwegian Helsinki Committee: Freedom of Belief Initiative would like to contribute to the public discussion from a human rights perspective.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee: Freedom of Belief Initiative’s report “The Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey - Monitoring Report January- June 2013” has been published in English. The Report provides a human rights based systematic review of the right to freedom of religion or belief for all in Turkey.
YILDIRIM: "A major problem with the package is, however, that it does not include legislation which could prevent violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief similar to those which have been found by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in cases concerning Turkey."
Developments affecting religious freedom in Turkey from January to June 2013 as well as recommendations for solutions were discussed.
"Conscientious objection has been on the Turkish agenda for 20 years. From the beginning until now truly many things have changed", says lawyer Hülya Üçpınar.
"The situation in which we find ourselves in Turkey these days is well known. Unfortunately people are afraid; forget about putting on a big meeting, even talking about these subjects is difficult. Still there are underground formations on the internet. But unfortunately and sadly we see that people who speak about their opinions are prosecuted."
"Living as an atheist in Turkey is very hard. Many of your basic liberties are limited. First of all, under the current circumstances, your freedom of speech in which you even declare that you are an atheist is limited, as well as expressing your atheistic views or your ideas that lead to your atheism."
Zekain Tanyar: "The authorities lack knowledge about Constitutional and human rights and their obligations and instead their approach is often based on an attitude of “how can I block this?” The Directorate of of Religious Affairs cannot have decision making power over non-Muslim religious communities, yet, for whatever reason, some public authorities seek their approval."