Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:
Turkey Country Update – In 2021, religious freedom conditions in Turkey have remained poor. The Turkish government has continued to carry out actions, deliberate inactions, and rhetoric to fuel a political environment that is hostile to religious minorities. Little effort has been made to address key religious freedom issues, including granting minority religious communities legal personality and permission to hold board member elections, recognizing Alevi houses of worship, and re-opening the Theological School of Halki—a seminary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Government tolerance of hate speech and acts of violence persisted in Turkey throughout 2021, which are noted in this report.
In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. Department of State include Turkey on its Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom. USCIRF has also highlighted several religious freedom concerns in Turkey on the USCIRF Spotlight Podcast, such as the continued closure of the Halki Seminary and Turkey’s persecution of the Alevi community.