The Human Rights Action Plan and Turkey’s Non-Muslim Minorities
Keywords:Human Rights Action Plan, Minority rights, Religious minorities, Turkey, Justice and Development Party
On March 2021, Turkey’s President announced a new Human Rights Action Plan (HRAP), supported by the Council of Europe, to reform the judiciary system and strengthen democratic participation. Although the rights claims of Kurds and Alevis have been prominent, HRAP mentions neither by name. Instead, it includes articles about improving the rights of religious minorities by fighting discrimination and hate, to advance pluralism, revising the Foundations Law regarding the establishment and election of boards of directors of non-Muslim community associations, and providing leave for religious holidays regardless of faith. Given the current distrust between non-Muslim groups and the Turkish state, this study analyzed the political attitudes of Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities to understand how they develop creative solutions to protect their rights. To do so, we interviewed Armenian deputies in Turkey’s parliament and prominent figures from the Greek-Orthodox, Armenian, and Jewish communities, and also reviewed the minority deputies’ parliamentary work in depth between 2015 and 2021. We found that HRAP was widely discussed by both minority and opposition parliamentary deputies. However, they did not strongly welcome any of its provisions because the government had previously ignored or delayed their demands.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Utku Özer, Burcu Taşkın
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