European panel wary on religious rights in Turkey

European Union membership at stake
Turkey still does not have a legal framework to ensure that religious minorities can function “without undue constraint,” says a European Commission report on the country, which is seeking membership in the European Union.

“Missionaries have been portrayed in the media or by the authorities as a threat to the integrity of the country, and non-Muslim minorities as not being an integral part of Turkish society,” the commission said in a November 6 progress report on Turkey’s membership in the 27-nation union.

Christians frequently complain of discrimination in Turkey, most of whose 71 million citizens are Sunni Muslims. However, the Rome-based AsiaNews agency reported that the Turkish government has agreed to settle longstanding grievances by religious minorities ahead of the country’s possible admission to the European Union.


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