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.
"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."