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Catholic World News reports on "EU pressing Turkey on religious freedom"

Brussels, Feb. 20, 2008 (CWNews.com) - European Union officials have called upon the government of Turkey to ensure religious freedom by granting legal recognition to faiths other than Islam, the KAI news agency reports.

Religious freedom has been a pivotal concern in discussions on Turkey's bid for entry into the European Union. EU officials are now asking for guarantees that minority religious groups in Turkey will have the right to train and select their own leaders, and assurance that they will not suffer discrimination based on belief or ethnicity.

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the most visible Christian figure in Turkey, has encouraged the EU to apply pressure on Ankara to protect religious minorities. The Turkish government has taken the stand that the Patriarch presides only over the small Orthodox community inside Turkey; the regime declines to recognize his status as the Ecumenical Patriarch, the "first among equals" of the patriarchs in the Orthodox world.


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