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Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 220606, tabled on 13 January 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take to encourage the consolidation of developments in religious freedom in Turkey.

Answered on

19 January 2015

This answer is a correction from the original answer.

We regularly raise the issue of religious freedom in bilateral discussions with the Turkish government. In early January 2015, Her Majesty´s Ambassador to Turkey met with the Head of the Diyanet (Presidency of Religious Affairs in Turkey) to discuss religious freedom. In 2014, we organised a round table with religious groups in Istanbul with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Our embassy in Ankara has regular meetings with religious groups and civil society to discuss strengthening freedom of religion in Turkey. The 2014 European Commission Annual Progress report on Turkey noted the need for comprehensive reform of legislation on freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and application of this legislation, in line with European Court of Human Rights rulings, Council of Europe recommendations and EU standards. We support this assessment and will continue to work closely with Turkey, EU Member States, and with the European institutions, to encourage further reforms, including on religious freedom, that will continue to underpin Turkey’s accession process.

Original answer

We regularly raise the issue of religious freedom in bilateral discussions with the Turkish government. In early January 2015, Her Majesty´s Ambassador to Turkey met with the Head of the Diyanet (Presidency of Religious Affairs in Turkey) to discuss religious freedom. In 2014, we organised a round table with religious groups in Istanbul with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Our embassy in Ankara has regular meetings with religious groups and civil society to discuss strengthening freedom of religion in Turkey. The 2014 European Commission Annual Progress report on Turkey noted the need for comprehensive reform of legislation on freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and application of this legislation, in line with European Court of Human Rights rulings, Council of Europe recommendations and EU standards. We support this assessment and will continue to work closely with Turkey, EU Member States, and with the European institutions, to encourage further reforms, including on religious freedom, that will continue to underpin Turkey’s accession process.