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Turkey's government regularly intervenes in religious affairs

Catholic World News - August 11, 2010

The government of Turkey regularly intervenes in the affairs of the countries Jewish, Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic communities, the Forum 18 news service reports. “The government makes no attempt to hide this interference,” says Forum 18. Government pressure is particularly evident when the religious groups choose new leaders. Forum 18 notes that this pattern of government involvement raises serious questions about Turkey’s professed commitment to religious freedom—questions that must be addressed as the nation pursues membership in the European Union.

Although Turkey claims to respect religious freedom, the country’s law does not recognize any religious community as a legal entity. Thus no religious group can hold property or claim other legal privileges, and state intervention is easily justified in the groups' affairs.

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