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Turkey: religious buildings

It was noted at the end of September that the use and ownership of Turkey’s many state-confiscated places of worship raises many questions, including how to address past injustices, the present needs of religious communities and historical preservation.

Forum 18 News (www.forum18.org)

Opinions are divided as to whom Christian churches, converted into mosques centuries ago and then turned into museums, should be returned. Many Alevi tekke (dervish lodges) were turned into mosques under the control of the government’s Diyanet or assigned to the use of municipalities. The many current uses of such buildings, and the legal status of their potential or past owners, also affects Turkey’s implementation of its international obligations to protect freedom of religion or belief. With little or no consultation with religious or belief communities and other interested parties, and no general guidelines, state decisions on this delicate subject are bound to be taken on an arbitrary basis.