After more than a hundred years of its supposed secular foundations, the institutionalised religious intolerance and racism in Turkey has continued to persist and has even accelerated in recent times, a report said.
Ankara has been brainwashing its population with the ‘Turkish Migration Routes’ map, which since Turkish independence, has been used to decorate all primary school walls during the single-party Republican People’s Party (CHP) period, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) said in a report.
This map was made in order to prove that the Turkish race migrated from Central Asia to the four corners of the world and carried civilization and that the tribes that founded the old civilizations in Anatolia were essentially Turks, the report said.
Turkey has also been promoting and exporting this idea through professionally made Turkish serials of international standards which focus on that racist and Islamic conquest, the report further said, adding that, in an environment where the masses are conditioned in this way, religious intolerance is but natural the logical end product.
Turkey is known to have a history of religious repression and mass massacres in the name of Islamization with the Armenian genocide that took place more than 100 years ago in 1915 being one of the most brutal examples.
The genocide was the systematic destruction of the Armenian people during World War and was implemented primarily through mass murder of around one million Armenians during death marches to the Syrian Desert and forced Islamization of Armenian women and children, the report said.
Though the genocide took place hundred years ago, the Armenians and Assyrians, who are very few in Turkey, continue their search for rights and justice till today.
According to the report, even today, a child’s freedom of religion, the right to participate, and the right of parents to raise their children according to their own philosophical or religious views are subject to systematic interference within the education system in Turkey.
The Turkish government has also been trying to lay the groundwork to make religious education (Islamic Sunni) compulsory for children in the age group 4-6 years, the report said.
In addition, the parents and students belonging to the atheists, deists, and agnostics groups do not have the right to be exempted from compulsory Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge courses, the report further said.
Those who criticize religion or belief in general, especially Islam, or certain interpretations of that religion or belief, are at risk of being prosecuted under the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), the report added.
Furthermore, the non-Muslim foundations in Turkey cannot elect their board of directors even today. Elections for the board of directors of these foundations have been prevented since 2013. As a result, the functioning of community foundations and the communities that benefit from them are paralyzed and weakened, the report said.
Highlighting that there also exists a striking disparity in terms of resource allocation to different religions by the Turkish government, the report said that, most of the resources from the public budget are meant only for the Sunni Muslim community for religious services.
Religious communities such as the Alevi community, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Armenian Patriarchate, and the Protestant community are unable to provide even training to their religious officials because of a paucity of resources, the report added.
The report went on to call on Ankara to take measures without delay in order to prevent religious violations by fulfilling the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgments and the Opinions of the Human Rights Committee in cases concerning freedom of religion or belief.