By human rights attorney Orhan Kemal Cengiz
Dear Brother Archons and Friends of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle:
The attached book, Religious Minorities of Turkey: An evaluation from the perspective of human rights by Orhan Kemal Cengiz, is a succinct, must-read primer on the human rights abuses and religious persecution perpetrated by the government of Turkey.
Orhan Kemal Cengiz is a well-respected and internationally known human rights attorney who resides in Ankara and is a longtime friend of the Archons. In this critically important report, he provides a history of the treatment of religious minorities in the Republic of Turkey and highlights the ongoing plight of those minorities, in particular the Orthodox Christian community and the official difficulties confronted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He considers, among other important issues, three key questions that stand out from the rest: “Why are historical churches and monasteries owned by the State rather than by religious communities?” “Why does the government interfere in patriarchal elections when these should be, at every step, an internal matter for the religious community?” and “Why does hate speech targeting religious minorities go unpunished?”
We plan to bring this report to the attention of the relevant officials, who will be able to challenge the government of Turkey on religious freedom and human rights grounds. This short book efficiently informs the reader of the systemic efforts of the Republic of Turkey to ethnically cleanse and eradicate the presence of its minorities, many of whom predate their own presence in the Anatolian Peninsula, a despicable national strategy in which they have essentially and tragically succeeded.
Nevertheless, the truth must be known throughout the oekoumeni, as “The Truth Will Set You Free.” John 8:31-32
In the Service of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD