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Will Turkey's government start paying priests and rabbis?

Non-Muslim religious leaders in Turkey cannot agree on whether to back efforts to get their personnel on the state payroll, which already supports the country's Muslim clergy.
A Syriac Christian monk walks to attend a service at the ancient monastery of Mor Gabriel, 15 km (9 miles) from the town of Midyat, in Mardin province of southeast Turkey January 13, 2009. Tucked amid rugged hills where mosques and minarets are silhouetted in the distance, the fifth century Mor Gabriel monastery stands out as a relic of another era when hundreds of thousands of Syriac Christians lived and worshipped in Turkey. But a land dispute between Mor Gabriel and neighbouring villages is threatening t

When Turkey’s official Religious Affairs Department, the Diyanet, denied a request from the Boyacikoy Yerits Mangonts Church Foundation to pay salaries to Christian clergy in Turkey, the move was challenged by the country's chief ombudsman, who asked the Prime Ministry to pay salaries to non-Muslim clergy. The Prime Ministry has not made a decision known, but non-Muslim clergy members are clearly delighted with the proposal.

Salaries for non-Muslim clergy entered the Turkish agenda after the foundation's first application in 2013. In the document, the foundation said it was trying to survive with donations and revenues from funeral services, a mere 4,000 liras ($1,300) in 2012. It asked for its clergy be paid salaries by the Diyanet, as is Turkey's Muslim clergy. The Diyanet, which rules over about 100,000 religious affairs officials and clerics, refused.

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