Dhimmitude seems to be alive and well in enlightened, secular Turkey, everyone’s favorite model of a thriving Islamic democracy. Compass Direct reports that when Deniz Kasan, a convert from Islam to Christianity, applied to change her religious identity (yes, this must be registered with the “secular” government), her application was denied.
“But to Kasan’s shock, her routine application was refused by the Kadikoy ‘kaymakam,’ or presiding district official. In a notice issued that same day, September 29, the official declared that her church was ‘not recognized as an official house of worship’ and thus her baptismal certificate could not be considered valid.”
Other applications from the same Presbyterian church, however, including that of Kasan’s husband, also a convert from Islam to Christianity, have been accepted in the past. More recently, however, others have also been rejected “” and this pattern is recurring all over Turkey.
On Timur Topuz’s second try to change his registration from Muslim to Christian, “he was given a written notice declaring that his identity could not be revised as requested. Citing an Interior Ministry directive dated October 14, 2002, the office ignored his objections and issued him a new card identifying him as a Muslim. When asked if he planned to open a court case over his denied request, Topuz confirmed that his church was considering it. ‘But it seems it could be very expensive,’ he noted.”
Another was Emrah Unver: when he “told the officials he wanted to change his identity from Muslim to Christian, they told him it was not allowed and refused to accept his application.”
Says lawyer Erol Dogru: “Without question, Turkey”s laws and constitution guarantee freedom of religion. But in order to win this, our citizens have to fight for it in the courts of law.”