Skip to comments.US Panel Presses Turkey on Religious Rights
Posted on 07/21/2011 11:57:56 AM PDT by marshmallow
WASHINGTON (AFP) A US congressional committee on Wednesday urged Turkey to ensure religious freedom and return church properties to their "rightful owners" in a vote opposed by the Ankara government.
After a spirited debate, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a text that says Turkey should "end all forms of religious discrimination" and "return to their rightful owners" all churches and other Christian historic sites.
"Religious minorities are under grave threat in today's Turkey," said Representative Ed Royce, a Republican from California.
"Rather than enjoying protection, very vulnerable religious minority groups including the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church are denied full legal status," he said.
Turkey in 1971 closed a major seminary of the Orthodox Church, which has been seated in Istanbul since Byzantine times, as the secular state tried to bring universities under its control.
Turkey does not recognize Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I's title as head of Orthodox Christians and considers him only the spiritual head of Turkey's tiny Greek Orthodox minority.
Turkey had voiced opposition to the amendment -- which was included in a spending bill -- and noted that the country has historically been home to large numbers of Christians and Jews.
"Turkey opposes the language in the measure because it presents a biased, one-sided perspective and wholly disregards the constructive steps Turkey has taken to safeguard and expand religious freedom and tolerance and to preserve places of worship belonging to Jews and Christians," Namik Tan, Turkey's ambassador to Washington, said in a statement.
The measure enjoyed support from both major US parties. But Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California who eventually voted for the text, questioned why the House zeroed in on Turkey.
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surely “moderate, secular” Turkey, our NATO ally, wouldn’t have a problem with:
“end all forms of religious discrimination” ???
yet liberals still tell us how tolerant Islam is.
and Turkey IS better than Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, etc.!
NO mosque should be built in the west, until ONE single church is built in Saudi Arabia.
I’ve always been under the impression that there was hope for Turkey. My understanding is that it was founded on strongly secular principles (not ideal, but far better than Muslim ones) and that the military would step in and impose martial law should the radical Muslims step up and try to take control.
Then again... this IS Islam were talking about. All it takes is a small group of people studying their “scriptures” in depth and you have instant terrorists. Frankly, I hope Turkey smartens up on this issue... but I won’t hold my breath.
...urged Turkey to ensure religious freedom and return church properties to their "rightful owners" in a vote opposed by the Ankara government...There's your "right of return", buckos.