Freedom of Speech, Press and Religion
The following statement was prepared by Alliance for Shared Values based on a workshop of social scientists and journalists who analyzed the prevalent views among Hizmet participants on these topics based on their observations and available literature.
- Freedom of speech, one of the fundamental rights in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is indispensable.
- Acceptance of freedom of speech within international norms encompasses marginal and radical thoughts that are expressed within those norms.
- Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are core tenets of a working democracy.
- All restrictive practices limiting freedom of the press including political repression, self-censorship, social and employer pressures are contradictory to democracy and cannot be accepted.
Freedom of Speech and Press in Turkey
- To eliminate restrictions on freedom of expression and the press, as well as the problems faced within this context, it is imperative for Turkey to speed up European Union (EU) accession related reforms and revise its legal code in accordance with EU standards.
- In response to the incidents where two journalists claimed to have been allegedly detained for having criticized Mr. Fethullah Gulen, the following statement has been made by Mr. Gulen: “As I stated previously, I am in support of a comprehensive application of freedom of expression and the press. This is irrespective of whether thoughts expressed are in complete opposition, or whether they unfairly attribute events to me, I will always remain in favor of freedoms of thought, opinion, and expression.”
Freedom of Conscience and Religion
- Everyone has the right to freedom of religion and conscience. This right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief, to worship individually or collectively, and to express one’s beliefs through teaching or practicing.
- Representatives and followers of all minority and majority religious groups should have the freedom to make peaceful demands out of religious needs. These demands should be addressed or attended within the framework of democratic principles and universal human rights and freedoms.
(1) For a more comprehensive response statement, please see Today’s Zaman article entitled “Gülen denies role in blocking publication of Şık’s book” dated March 29, 2011
Every individual is equal in dignity and rights, and should have the opportunity to realize their full potential. We work with organizations that strive to empower the underprivileged by providing access to the tools they need to succeed.
Democracy allows citizens to participate equally in the process of political self-determination. In its ideal form, democracy allows individuals to flourish in all dimensions of their lives. We embrace democracy and democratic values such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion, rule of law and equal opportunity…
We embrace equal rights for women and men as expressed in The UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Convention defines discrimination against women in the following terms:
The following statement was prepared by Alliance for Shared Values based on a workshop of social scientists and journalists who analyzed the prevalent views among Hizmet participants on these topics based on their observations and available literature…
Education is the antidote against ignorance and it is the most effective tool for empowering individuals, building cultural awareness, and positively impacting society for generations to come…
The Alliance works to foster environments of mutual respect and social harmony in communities through its member organizations and partners. We do this by educating people about different faiths and cultures, condemning violence and terror, and creating opportunities for dialogue and collaboration among people from diverse backgrounds…
We categorically reject resorting to violence and terror toward political or social goals. Both violence and terror are multidimensional phenomena. Economic, political, and ideological factors that underlie violence and terror should be given as much emphasis as social factors such as ethnicity, religion and culture. Differences in ethnicity, religion or culture often drive inflammatory rhetoric that fuels conflicts arising from political or economic reasons…
Peaceful and harmonious coexistence is the ultimate ideal that unites all of humanity. In an increasingly globalized society, it is important to shift the discourse away from the things that divide, and instead focusing on our shared goal of peace and combating the prejudices that breed fear and violence.
Good health is a crucial component of a dignified life. One important way to contribute to the well-being of others is to help alleviate their sufferings and improve their health condition…