USCIRF decries the decision of Turkey’s Council of State (Danıştay), the country’s highest administrative court, to permit the conversion of the historic Hagia Sophia from its current status as a museum back into a mosque.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated his desire to convert Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque in late May, a possibility he had first raised in March 2019. Should he go forward with his plans, he will not only endanger the future of this world heritage site dear to Christians and Muslims alike, but also undermine interfaith relations in the Middle East and beyond. It must not happen.
USCIRF condemned Turkey’s latest round of air strikes and ground operations (“Operation Claw-Eagle” and “Operation Claw-Tiger”) near civilian areas in northern Iraq, calling on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to order an immediate end to these actions.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns recent Turkish air strikes near civilian areas in Sinjar, Iraq. Turkey claims that these air strikes, the most recent in a series of similar operations that it has conducted in the Sinjar area since 2017, are targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters who have remained in northwestern Iraq since participating in anti-ISIS operations. However, these indiscriminate strikes have taken place in close proximity to towns and camps in which displaced Yazidi families have taken refuge since the 2014 genocide at the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters.
WASHINGTON, DC – In response to news reports that Turkey has launched airstrikes on the border region of northeast Syria, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is urging the Trump administration to demand Turkey cease airstrikes on or near civilian areas and end its partnership with radical Islamist militias that have wreaked havoc elsewhere in northern Syria.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2019
USCIRF Urges U.S. Policymakers to Remain Engaged on Religious Freedom in Turkey
Calls on Turkish Government to Cease Interference in Religious Elections
On June 27, 2019, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) held a congressional hearing on religious freedom in Turkey.