Appeal to the members of the DITIB:
For every Turkish DITIB mosque in Germany build one Christian church in
The Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) welcomes in the spirit of
religious diversity and tolerance the construction of places of prayer for
all faiths in our country. It is worth noting that the new mosque in
Duisburg falls under the jurisdiction of the Islamist society DITIB, which
with its 880 branches is an arm of the Turkish "Ministry of Religious
Affairs" in Ankara. At the same time the Turkish administration persecutes
and suppresses to the present day the Christian minorities.
"We call for the licence for one Christian church in Turkey for each of the
many hundred DITIB mosques opened in Germany. As long as the DITIB
propagates the anti-Kurdish and Kemalist ideology and takes no action for
freedom of religion in Turkey it damages the reputation of Islam in
Many European Moslems, among them Bosniaks, Sanjaks, Albanians and Roma
already turned their backs on the German DITIB mosques", said Tilman Zülch,
General Secretary of the Society for Threatened Peoples. "Our human rights
organisation draws attention to the fact that the Turkish state, which is
still dominated by Kemalist ideology, is still suppressing and persecuting
the indigenous Christians."
Thanks to the policies of Kemal Atatürk and his Young Turk predecessors the
proportion of Christians in the population has dropped inside the frontiers
of today’s Turkey from 25% to 0.1%. From 1913 until 1922 there was genocide
and from 1923 onwards ethnic cleansing took place (today played down as
"population exchange") against Armenian, Aramaic Assyrian and
Christians, by pogroms and expulsion in the so-called "Istambul
Kristallnacht" of 1955 and during the Cyprus crisis of 1974 and the
discrimination and persecution of Christians since then.
The Catholic and Evangelical churches in Turkey have to the present day no
legal status of their own, are therefore not independent public bodies
having no legal capacity. Their religious services must for the most
part be
held in private houses. The building of new churches is as a rule not
allowed except in tourist areas. The Orthodox Patriarch of more than 250
million Orthodox Christians throughout the world, who resides in
Istanbul/Constantinople, is recognized in Turkey only as the head of about
3,000 Greek-Orthodox believers still remaining. Work and residence permits
are generally not allowed for ministers of religion who have no Turkish
citizenship. Although according to Para. 20 of the Lausanne Agreement
non-Muslims have the right to hold property, religious minorities were
2002 not allowed to acquire such properties. There have been countless
of confiscation.
According to estimates of the Society for Threatened Peoples there are
living in Turkey about 60,000 Apostolic, United or Evangelical
Christians of
Armenian nationality, some 3,000 Greek-Orthodox in Istambul, 2,000 Syrian
orthodox in Tur Abdin in the south-east of the country and about 3,000 in
Greater Istambul, 3,000 Syrian United and about 10,000 each of the Catholic
and Evangelical Christians mainly of non-Turkish nationality.