Judges today declared that Turkey must reform religious education in schools to ensure respect for parents’ beliefs.
In its Chamber judgment in the case of Mansur Yalçın and Others v. Turkey (application no. 21163/11), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education) to the European Convention on Human Rights with regard to Mansur Yalçın, Yüksel Polat and Hasan Kılıç.
In this case, the applicants, who are adherents of the Alevi faith, an unorthodox minority branch of Islam, complained that the content of the compulsory classes in religion and ethics in schools was based on the Sunni understanding of Islam.
The court observed in particular that in the field of religious instruction, the Turkish education system was still inadequately equipped to ensure respect for parents’ convictions.
The violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 found by the Court on that account had arisen out of a structural problem already identified in the case of Hasan and Eylem Zengin.
Turkey had to remedy the situation without delay, in particular by introducing a system whereby pupils could be exempted from religion and ethics classes without their parents having to disclose their own religious or philosophical convictions.