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Turkey’s non-Muslims eye a modern civil constitution

Dub Lausanne Treaty as “outdated”

While Turkey plans to replace its current constitution with a new civilian one, non-Muslim Turkish nationals seek to guarantee the protection of their rights other than the outdated Lausanne Treaty.

Lausanne Treaty was provided for the independence of Turkey on July 24, 1923 and for the protection of Greek Orthodox Christian minority in the country, as well as the Muslim minority in Greece.

In 1924, the treaty was ratified by Greece, Britain, Italy and Japan, and later it was registered in the League of Nations treaty series, before the formation of the United Nations in 1945.

Reober Koptas, editor-in-chief of Armenian Weekly Agos, told the Turkey-based paper Today’s Zaman, that non-Muslims minorities do not want their rights to be guaranteed by foreign countries, which he says has negative impacts and repercussions in the country.

Non-Muslim minorities in Turkey do not want to be seen as “outer constituents whose rights are protected by the Treaty of Lausanne,” said the Turkish-Armenian writer and journalist Markar Esayan.

“We want no more and no less than this. We want to become simple citizens of Turkey. We want to become citizens of a state we have failed to be close to until now,” he added.

Meanwhile, Erol Dora, a lawyer representing the Syriac Christian community of Turkey, told Today’s Zaman that in order to restore social peace and to create a far more democratic mindset in the country, political will should be exercised.

He added that giving uniform rights for all of the Turkish people should be sought after not simply because Europe requires such conditions for full membership in the European Union.