Turkey: The Reality is Ugly

Overlooking religious minorities? No. Dhimmitude is real in “moderate, democratic” Turkey…

By Elizabeth H. Prodromou and Leonard Leo / WaPo

‘Watch List’ status belies nation’s rich history

0226_mosque_460x276“Rocket launchers”  defile the Hagia Sophia, now a museum…

Today, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church, the seat of Eastern Christianity, is nearly extinct. The U.S. State Department estimates fewer than 3,000 remain and other estimates cut that estimate in half. This experience is shared by other Christian faiths that face similar obstacles to the free practice of their religion.


Much wind over nothing:

  • Islam cannot be reformed/Unfortunately, even Prof. Yasar Nuri Ozturk, Turkey’s leading “liberal”/”modern” theologian has objected to the use of the word “reform” with regard to Islam, arguing that “since Islam hasn’t become ‘deformed’, it doesn’t need to be ‘reformed’.”

Anyone taking public transportation in Washington recently has seen the posters of a beautiful Turkish dancer beckoning from Metro buses and from posters in Union Station. The advertisement invites people to attend the Seventh Annual Turkish-American Festival on Sunday. Thousands are likely to accept the invitation and on a fall afternoon, crowd Pennsylvania Avenue to enjoy “Turkish Arts, Crafts, Dance, Food and Fun.”

“The self-censorship practiced by Europeans only encourages Islamic hubris”

Turkey, like all nations in a tourism campaign, wants to put the best foot forward. However, as demonstrated in an early September desecration of an Orthodox Christian cemetery in Istanbul, religious minorities in Turkey face problems that go often unreported or are ignored.

Because of these concerns, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) undertook a fact finding tour of Turkey in 2006. Religious minorities reported that they continued to experience serious problems regarding opening, maintaining and operating houses of worship, as well as serious restrictions on their ability to train clergy, maintain educational and cultural organizations, and own private and collective property. Communities affected include the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox Churches, as well as Roman Catholics, Protestants and others.

Anti-Semitism remains an alarming concern, as well. USCIRF also learned of significant restrictions on religious freedom for the majority Sunni Muslim community and the minority Alevis (usually viewed as a unique sect of Islam).

Because these and other religious freedom problems persist, and the existence of several religious communities in Turkey remains imperiled, USCIRF placed Turkey on its “Watch List” in May 2009.

Turkey is approximately 98 percent Muslim, mostly Sunni. About 20 percent of that majority are Alevis, who are subject to unofficial and official discrimination because of their heterodox Islamic faith. The Alevi, who do not worship in mosques, for example, have great difficulty getting official permits to build assembly houses for worship.

The remaining 2 percent of Turkey’s population, estimated at 75 million, is comprised of non-Muslim and mainly Christian minorities. The significant restrictions on religious minority communities include state policies and actions that have effectively used religious freedom restrictions to produce the broader political and economic disenfranchisement of religious minorities who, in some cases, are being eliminated from lands that they have inhabited for millennia.

Today, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church, the seat of Eastern Christianity, is nearly extinct. The U.S. State Department estimates fewer than 3,000 remain and other estimates cut that estimate in half. This experience is shared by other Christian faiths that face similar obstacles to the free practice of their religion.

For more than 50 years, the Turkish government has used convoluted regulations and undemocratic laws to confiscate hundreds of religious minority properties, primarily those belonging to the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Roman Catholic and other communities. The state also has closed seminaries, denying these communities the right to train clergy.

In 1971, the Turkish government nationalized the Greek Orthodox Theological School of Haliki on the island of Heybeli, depriving the Greek Orthodox community of its only educational institution for its leadership in Turkey, and putting the very survival of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Greek Orthodox community at risk.

Hate crimes are a problem, as nonstate actors have attacked religious minorities or symbols of their existence, with inconsistent government investigations or prosecutions – sometimes nothing is done at all. In addition to the desecration of the Orthodox cemetery referenced earlier, the killing of members of minority religious groups has occurred in recent years: In 2003, terrorists bombed two synagogues; in 2006, a Catholic priest was murdered; in January 2007, prominent human rights activist Hrant Dink was killed; and in April 2007, three members of a Protestant church were tortured to death. The crimes were investigated and prosecuted, but not with the speed necessary to ensure timely justice. The Turkish government has not done enough to combat this discrimination, which is sometimes violent.

USCIRF has urged the U.S. government to encourage Turkish officials to continue to condemn violent hate crimes against members of religious and ethnic communities and to ensure prompt investigation and prosecutions, and to stem growing anti-Semitism in some sectors of the Turkish media.

Turkish courts have also overturned legislative efforts by the current government that would have allowed for greater religious freedoms for Muslim women who wanted to wear a headscarf, or hijab, in public institutions. This forces Turkish women to choose between a higher education or their religious beliefs.

One of the participants in last year’s festival is featured in the television advertisement promoting Turkish tourism and this weekend’s festival. “From what I’ve seen here, it would be wonderful to go to Turkey. They have beautiful music and beautiful dancing and wonderful food. I’d really like to go,” she said.

It is true that there are many wonderful things to experience in Turkey and at this weekend’s festival. But if you go, go with eyes open, knowing there is an untold story about Turkey’s rich history and the country’s fast-disappearing religious diversity.

Elizabeth H. Prodromou is vice chairman and Leonard Leo is chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Dhimmitude, a policy of deliberate Cultural obliteration

For those not killed by the invading Muslims, they might be allowed to live as Dhimmis; their lives are spared if they surrender to a set of humiliating and oppressive laws and regulations that demand subservience and guarantee the eventual extinction of their culture.

The Pact of Umar is a fundamental document in prescribing the condition of tolerated “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians) living within Muslim-controlled states.

Dhimmi are granted the right to practice their own religious rites in privacy. The protection of their persons and property was also part of the pact but the punishment for infringement was less severe than for a Muslim. During aberrant fundamentalist movements, these rights varied or did not apply.

To secure their rights, dhimmi would pledge loyalty to their Muslim rulers, pay a special poll-tax (the jizya) for adult males, and in general show deference and humility to Muslims in social interactions.

While the conditions of the Pact were authoritative, the level of enforcement varied, as shown by the existence of churches constructed long after the Muslim conquests.


We Christians:

1 – We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries,

2 – churches,

3 – convents,

4 – or monks’ cells,

5 – nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins

6 – or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims. . . .

7- We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy,

8 – nor hide him from the Muslims. We shall not teach the Quran to our children.

9 – We shall not manifest our religion publicly

10 – nor convert anyone to it.

11 – We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.

12 – We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and

13 – we shall rise from our seats if they wish to sit.

14 – We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments, the headgear, the turban, footwear, or the parting of the hair.

15 – We shall not speak as they do,

16 – nor shall we adopt their honorific names.

17 – We shall not mount on saddles,

18- nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our persons.

19 – We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.

20 – We shall not sell fermented drinks. (i.e. Alcohol)

21 – We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims.

22 – We shall only use clappers in our churches very softly.

23 – We shall not raise our voices in our church services or in the presence of Muslims,

24 – nor shall we raise our voices when following our dead.

25 – We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in their markets.

26 – We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims.

27 – We shall not take slave who have been allotted to the Muslims.

28 – We shall not build houses over-topping the houses of the Muslims.

Once again, the UN Definition of Genocide:

The United Nations defines genocide as “any… acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such…”

We pushed them back from Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Austria, Italy, France, Greece, etc. We had pushed them back before and we can do it again. So when I read:

“Should the dhimmi violate the conditions of the dhimma — perhaps through practicing his own religion indiscreetly or failing to show adequate deference to a Muslim – then the jihad resumes. At various times in Islamic history, dhimmi peoples rose above their subjected status, and this was often the occasion for violent reprisals by Muslim populations who believed them to have violated the terms of the dhimma. Medieval Andalusia (Moorish Spain) is often pointed out by Muslim apologists as a kind of multicultural wonderland, in which Jews and Christians were permitted by the Islamic government to rise through the ranks of learning and government administration. What we are not told, however, is that this relaxation of the disabilities resulted in widespread rioting on the part of the Muslim populace that killed hundreds of dhimmis, mainly Jews.”

In light of the above, Muslim “researchers” whine and moan about “Islamophobia” and “inequality”- which means more demands on the host countries to submit, because Islam, only Islam, matters….

Muslims face Islamophobia in Europe


6 thoughts on “Turkey: The Reality is Ugly”

  1. Uhm…the Hagia Sophia is opposite the Blue Mosque. The Blue Mosque was never the Hagia Sophia…


  2. Recently signs have been put up identifying Christian Greek and Armenian areas of Istanbul. This is usually done before Muslim riots that target Greeks and Armenians. The foul stench of Islam marches on.

  3. “In Stockholm, Islamic residents have been known to wear T-shirts that say simply: “2030 – then we take over.”

    “2030 – We kill all Islamists who try to take over”

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