Kristne diskrimineres Tyrkia

Over halvparten av den muslimske befolkningen i Tyrkia er i mot at folk fra andre religioner samles til møter eller publiserer material om sin tro. Nesten 40 prosent av den tyrkiske befolkningen sier at de har ”veldig negativt” eller ”negativt” syn på kristne. Over 90 prosent av tyrkerne bekjenner seg til sunniislam.

Bak undersøkelsen står International Social Survey Program, som består av akademikere fra 45 land som gjennomfører malinger knyttet til politiske og sosiale spørsmål. Undersøkelsen om religiøse holdninger fra Tyrkia ble publisert i forrige måned, og resultatene fra de totalt 43 medlemslandene publiseres neste år.

Ali Çarkoglu, one of two professors at Sabanci University who conducted the study, said no non-Muslim religious gathering in Turkey is completely “risk free.”

“Even in Istanbul, it can’t be easy to be an observant non-Muslim,” Çarkoglu said.The report, issued last month, was part of a study commissioned by the International Social Survey Program, a 45-nation academic group that conducts polls and research about social and political issues. The survey quantified how religious the population is in each of its 43-member countries. Çarkoglu, along with Professor Ersin Kalaycıoğlu, carried out the research in 2008. The completed study with the results of all 43 countries will be released in 2010. The study has been conducted previously three times at roughly 10-year intervals. This year marked the first time study data has been collected in Turkey. Turkey was the only Muslim-majority population in the study.

Undersøkelsen i Tyrkia avdekker at 59 prosent av befolkningen sier at ikke-muslimer “skal ikke” eller “skal absolutt ikke” få holde åpne møter der de kan diskutere religionen sin. 54 prosent sier at ikke-muslimer ”skal ikke” eller skal absolutt ikke” ha tillatelse til å publisere litteratur om troen sin. Samtidig sier 42 prosent at religiøse personer bør være tolerante, mens 49 prosent sier de ikke vil stemme på et parti som tillater folk fra andre religioner. Forskerne forklarer de negative holdningene med Tyrkias utdanningssystem: Muslimske elever lærer ingenting om kristen eller jøder, som karakteriseres som ”de andre”.

Fully 59 percent of those surveyed said non-Muslims either “should not” or “absolutely should not” be allowed to hold open meetings where they can discuss their ideas. Fifty-four percent said non-Muslims either “should not” or “absolutely should not” be allowed to publish literature that describes their faith. The survey also found that almost 40 percent of the population of Turkey said they had “very negative” or “negative” views of Christians. In the random survey, 60 percent of those polled said there is one true religion; over 90 percent of the population of Turkey is Sunni Muslim.The survey includes significant nuance. While 42 percent of the population agreed with the statement that religious people should be tolerant, 49 percent of those surveyed said they would either “absolutely” or “most likely” not support a political party that accepted people from another religion. But 20 percent of those surveyed said they had “very positive” or “positive” views of Christians – 13 percent “very positive,” and 7 percent “positive.”Çarkoglu said the results of study could be attributed to the Turkish educational system, which mandates religious studies for both junior high school and high school students – classes in which Christians and Jews “are not even mentioned” or are portrayed as “the others,” Çarkoglu said.“That instills in these students a severe point of view of intolerance,” he added.

De kristne greskortodokse opplever seg som annenrangs borgere. I følge undersøkelsen ser en del tyrkere på kristne som fiender av staten, fiender av islam eller svikere av tyrkisk kultur. Det verserer også konspirasjonsteorier om at de kristne har allierte seg med maktsentra utenfor Tyrkia og at målet er å splitte opp Tyrkia.

The Rev. Dositheos Anagnostopoulos, speaking on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, said that Greek Orthodox Christians are treated like second-class citizens in Turkey. He said that members of his church feel “pressured” but things have improved slowly over the years. Earlier this year, two Greek Orthodox cemeteries in Istanbul and one in Izmir were severely vandalized.“There’s still vandalism, but there haven’t been any problems with physical threats lately,” he said.In Turkey, Christians face dual threats from a self-declared “secular” state and from members of the public who, according to the study, have become more observant in their Islamic faith. Christians are often seen as enemies of the state, enemies of Islam or traitors to Turkish culture. A 2009 report on international religious freedom by the U.S. Department of State said that in Turkey, “No law explicitly prohibits religious speech or religious conversions; nevertheless, many prosecutors and police regarded religious speech and religious activism with suspicion. Christians engaged in religious advocacy were occasionally threatened or pressured by government and state officials. … Threats against non-Muslims created an atmosphere of pressure and diminished freedom for some non-Muslim communities.”At times in Turkey’s history, the government has “manipulated public opinion” by putting forth the message that Turkish Christians are aligned with powers outside of the country that want to divide the nation, said Zekai Tanyar, a Turkish national who has been a Christian for more than 30 years. He is chairman of the Association of Protestant Churches (in Turkey). “There are some who view that Christians are out to undermine the country, especially missionaries,” he said.