In this episode, Mark Melton speaks with Tugba Tanyeri-Erdemir and Aykan Erdemir about religious freedom issues in Turkey. In particular, they cover what reports from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) say about Turkey and how the Turkish government’s restrictions on the Kurdish language affect religious minorities there. The Erdemirs also discuss the status of holy sites for religious minorities in Turkey, how they are sometimes restored, and the role they play in the community. Both also explain how Turkey uses “spectacles of tolerance” to demonstrate its acceptance of religious freedom, but these few benevolent acts cannot solve all of Turkey’s religious freedom problems. Instead, they argue that the country needs to institutionalize equality and pluralism. Finally, Aykan analyzes how the situation in Afghanistan affects Turkey and its minorities.

For further reading, see:

State Department Should Deliver an Honest Message about Turkey’s Religious Freedom Record,” by Aykan Erdemir & Tugba Tanyeri-Erdemir on June 3, 2021.

Turkey’s Anti-Kurdish Measures Violate Religious Freedom,” by Aykan Erdemir & Sude Akgundogdu on August 9, 2021.