24th May 2021
The Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the conviction of Sefer (Aho) Bileçen of the Mor Yahqup d-Qarne Monastery on terrorism charges in April, what assessment they have made of the government of Turkey’s policies towards freedom of (1) religion, and (2) cultural expression.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office): The Government closely monitors issues around freedom of religion and cultural expression in Turkey. In addition, we regularly remind Turkey that we expect the Government to undertake any legal processes or actions against religious minorities fairly, transparently and with full respect for the rule of law.
We strongly support all religious and cultural minority groups in Turkey, including Christians, and continue to encourage the Turkish authorities to safeguard their welfare and respect their human rights in line with provisions in the Turkish constitution that protect the rights of religious minorities. The Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas did so most recently with her Turkish counterpart on 21 April.