Restrictions on Training of Clergy in Turkey Remain

Country: Turkey

Date of incident: March 29, 2011

Individual religious communities in Turkey are restricted in their training of clergy. The Turkish legislation does not provide for private higher religious education for minorities and such opportunities are inexistent in the public education system.

There are various examples that point to the lack of religious toleration towards non-Muslim religions, leading in time to a shortage of ministers and priests. First, the Halki Greek Orthodox seminary remains closed. Second, the Armenian Orthodox community, despite being the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Turkey, cannot educate future generations of clerics as it has no seminaries in the country. “[The Armenian community] today has only 26 priests to minister to an estimated population of 65,000,” wrote the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), adding, “The lack of institutions to train future religious leaders of the religious minority communities further erodes their long-term viability.” Third, Syriacs can only provide informal training which takes place outside any officially established schools. Souces: