Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, urged Turkey in a letter to lift the religious indication from identity cards and to abolish religious education at school.
In February 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had in fact decided for a violation of freedom of religion upon the application filed by Turkish national Sinan Işık in 2005. According to the decree, the religious indication on IDs breaches Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights on conscience and religion. The court emphasized that a person is not obliged to announce his/her religion and beliefs.
In 2007, the ECHR ruled upon the application of Hasan Zengin that compulsory religious education at school should be lifted.
In his letter, Hammarberg also recommended the opening of the seminary for religious education on Heybeliada, one of the Princess Islands off the coast of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara.
Hammarberg's letter was answered by Ambassador Daryal Batıbay, Permanent Representative for Turkey at the Council of Europe. Batıbay said that the investigation regarding the lifting of the religious education on IDs was still being continued.
According to data compiled by the ECHR, Turkey was among the countries with the most violations of the European Convention on Human Rights between 1959 and 2009. (EÖ/VK)
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