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Turkey’s Christians divided over 'freedom' declaration

A declaration by non-Muslim spiritual leaders in support of Ankara has exposed in-house divisions in Christian communities.
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As the United States piled pressure on Turkey over a detained American pastor, the leaders of Turkey’s Christian and Jewish minorities issued a joint declaration July 31 asserting they enjoy religious freedom in the Muslim-majority country. The declaration may have pleased Ankara as a show of support in the row with Washington, but has triggered controversy and objections with the minorities themselves.

Signed by 18 spiritual and community leaders, the declaration said, “As the religious representatives and foundation administrators of ancient communities of different religions and faiths that have been rooted in this country for centuries, we are free to live out our faiths and practice our worships in line with our traditions. Statements alleging and/or alluding to oppression are completely untrue and go beyond purpose.”

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