2019 Report Pursuing Rights and Equality: Monitoring Report on the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey

The Report covering the period of January 2016 – March 2019 finds that the effective protection of the universal right to the freedom of religion or belief in Turkey requires a fundamental transformation of law and policy that needs to be based on an inclusive consultative process and on international human rights law.

NHC Freedom of Belief Initiative's submission to the CoM on the Zengin group of cases on compulsory religion courses in Turkey

Interview: Lawyer Sebu Aslangil "election of new board members for the non-muslim community foundations critical for their livelihood."

Turkey's non-muslim community foundations have not been able to elect new board members since 2013. In 2013 the Regulation provisions on the election of new board members were declared null and void with the promise that new regulation would be adopted soon. However, this has not been the case. The head of our project, Dr. Mine Yıldırım, talked with lawyer Sebu Aslangil on the impact of the inability to elect board members on community foundations and solution.

18 February Conference: Freedom of Expression & Freedom of Religion or Belief - The Case of Turkey

This event seeks to explore the legal issues at the core of the intersection of freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief as well as the implications of international human rights law and Turkey’s national law. Members of religious or belief communities, non-believers, legal experts and thinkers come together to present and analyze problems, patterns and ways of moving forward.

Monitoring Report on the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey 2015 is published

The new AK party government, taking power after the 1 November 2015 Parliamentary elections, should be aware of the need for reform and make changes to both the letter and practice of the law in a way that is inclusive, transparent, and places human rights norms at the center. Otherwise, it is not difficult to predict that various religious or belief communities, so negatively affected by the extant restrictions and discrimination, will become ever more vulnerable as they continue to face their struggle to survive.

Court: Compulsory Religion Class Against Equality Principle

The İstanbul 4th Administrative Court has given its final judgment on an appeal by a parent, who requested her child to be exempted from compulsory religion class. The court has ruled that the class is against the principle of equality.

Turkey's top court rules against headscarf ban

Turkey's Constitutional Court says university student's right of education, freedom of religion was violated with ban

Turkey’s appeals court rules Alevi minority’s cem houses are places of worship

While the judgment is positive, there is urgent need for putting inlace necessary legal measures.

Lachiri v. Belgium: Headscarf ban imposed on a civil party in a courtroom in violation of religious freedom

The Court’s ruling in Lachiri is to be welcome for its main finding, namely that prohibiting a private person from wearing a religious dress in a courtroom cannot be justified by the protection of public order and violates the right to religious freedom. However, this judgment remains focused on the specificities of the case and does little to clarify to what extent and in what circumstances religious dress prohibition may be deemed compatible with the Convention in other situations.

Criminal fine for discussion of Mohamed’s wives did not interfere with freedom of expression – Strasbourg

The Strasbourg Court concluded that the Austrian court had acted within its margin of appreciation by finding that "the impugned statements as going beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate and classifying them as an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam".

ECtHR (Grand Chamber): Sharia law applied to an inheritance dispute contrary to the will of the testator, a Greek belonging to the Muslim minority: violation of the Convention

The Court found that the difference in treatment suffered by the applicant, as a beneficiary of a will drawn up in accordance with the Civil Code by a testator of Muslim faith, as compared to a beneficiary of a will drawn up in accordance with the Civil Code by a non-Muslim testator, had had no objective and reasonable justification. There had therefore been a violation of Article 14 of the Convention read in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.

Buldu and Others v. Turkey

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Turkey 57,650 euros for prosecuting and convicting four Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused compulsory military service, according to a statement from the Court on June 3. 

Otto-Preminger Institut v. Austria

The Otto Preminger Institut v. Austria case remains an important case concerning the intersection of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief.

International Law

International Standards Pertaining to the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief

EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief

The EU adopted the Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief on 24 June 2013.