Date: December 6, 2022
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:
Blasphemy Charges in Turkey – This report reviews Turkey’s continued criminalization of blasphemy under Article 216(3) of the Turkish Penal Code, which permits a prison sentence ranging from six months to one year for an individual “who openly insults the religious values of a section of the public.” The Turkish government’s use of this article is generally politically motivated and seeks to penalize individuals perceived to have insulted or mocked Islam, or to intimidate or retaliate against critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), or others associated with the current government. The report concludes by highlighting select recent cases of individuals and entities that have faced criminal blasphemy charges.
In its 2022 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. Department of State include Turkey on its Special Watch List for engaging in severe violations of religious freedom. USCIRF staff visited the country in March 2022 and discussed findings from that trip in an episode of the USCIRF Spotlight Podcast.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a commissioner, please contact USCIRF at