This marks probably the most important recent development in religion, and in "church-state" relations in the world at present.
Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the surprise decision on Sunday evening
(Aug. 28) in Istanbul, addressing a large gathering of Istanbul's
non-Muslim religious leaders representing 161 minority foundations.
Invited as the honored guest for an iftar (breaking the fast) meal near
the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan,
Erdogan declared, "The times when citizens in our country were
oppressed for their beliefs, their ethnic heritage or the way they
dressed is over."
Acknowledging past injustices inflicted
on those of different faith groups, he vowed, "Those days are over. In
our country, no citizen is superior to another."
Read more at www.irfwp.org
In a deliberate
clarification the next day, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
emphasized that the government's formal decision was "not a gesture
toward minorities, but the return of the rights of legally equal