EU membership and religious freedoms in Turkey
15 November 2010
Freedom of religion is considered to be a fundamental human right. It is also something that the EU places great importance on and therefore those countries that are looking to join the Club need to meet EU standards on this.Â
The EU should recognise that while much remains to be done in Turkey, the country is taking the necessary steps to tackle past deficits.Â Clearly, Turkey is not the country is was ten years ago; it recognizes the need to change and its process with the EU is acting as a vehicle to nudge the process along.Â Therefore the EU needs to keep pressure on Turkey.
Turkey has been negotiating membership with the EU since October 2005.Â Freedom of religion has been quite a problematic area with Turkey having something of a patchy record - principally the result of the rather restrictive and oppressive policy carried out for decades following the birth of the Republic in 1923.Â Indeed under the Ottoman Empire (particularly during late 19th century), freedom of religion was far less restrictive for many of the Empireâ€™s minorities than under the Kemalist regime that followedÂ
For decades demands for greater religious freedoms fell on deaf ears. Only as Turkey began negotiations with the EU did change start to occur.Â
The anchoring of Turkey to the EU has facilitated changes in the country with Ankara coming under pressure to improve the situation and urgently boost religious tolerance and expand rights, particularly for non-Muslims (Syriac, Catholic, Greek, Jewish and ArmenianÂ communities in particular) but for others too including the Aleviâ€™s (a Muslim sect numbering some 20 million).
Read all of this article here: http://www.neurope.eu/articles/EU-membership-and-religious-freedoms-in-Turkey-/103709.php