The US Commission on International Religious Freedom published its annual report in which Turkey had been recommended for the US State Department's "Special Watch List" for its religious freedom violations.
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release as a response to the annual USCIRF report on religious freedom.
Turkey has been placed on the State Department’s “Special Watch List” which includes “governments that have engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom.”
The Turkish MoFA referred to the report as “a clear indication of the biased mindset behind it and the circles under whose influence it was drawn up.”
“The report contains baseless, unaccredited and vague allegations as in the past years while trying to portray isolated incidents as violations of religious freedoms through far-fetched accusations,” the statement says.
To prove the the commitment to safeguard religious freedom, the MoFA cited the President’s letter to the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey dated 24th of April. On the remembrance day of the Armenian genocide, the Turkish President offered his “sincere condolences” to the grandchildren of the victims of World War I.
Despite the fact that the vast majority of the international community of historians recognises the Armenian genocide, the Turkish government actively denies any official role in it, except to say that it was a necessary response.
President Erdoğan’s letter is somewhat dubious by expressing his heartfelt condolences while not recognising the suffering of the Armenian people.
According to International Christian Concern, the legal identity of the Armenian Church remains defunct, and are therefore unable to secure their civil rights. For a decade, the government refused to allow the Armenians to choose their own patriarch. When the election finally occurred, the government meddled heavily in the process.
See the full statement here.
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