Non-Muslim Religious Communities in Turkey Face Obstacles in Using Places of Worship

Country: Turkey

Date of incident: March 20, 2011

Non-Muslim religious communities living in Turkey report difficulties opening, maintaining, and operating houses of worship. These groups may not build new churches because of the often arbitrary refusals to issue construction permits for places of worship. The reason behind this discriminatory behaviour is the fact that all unofficial meetings for religious minorities are considered potentially subversive.

Non-Muslim religious services, especially for religious groups that do not own property recognized by the General Directorate for Foundations (GDF), often take place on diplomatic property or in private apartments. Police occasionally bar Christians from holding services in private apartments, and prosecutors have opened cases against Christians for holding unauthorized gatherings. Sources: