05/19/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Opposition party members of Turkey’s Parliament have placed on the agenda the issue of a forced conversion incident of a child on live television during Ramadan programming.
The child is a 13-year old Armenian Christian refugee who was tricked into appearing onstage alongside the show’s host, Nihat Hatipoğlu, through promises of food and gifts. He was then pressured to convert to Islam. The parents were not consulted.
Legal complaints have been filed by the parents that Hatipoğlu has committed child abuse. It is also worth noting that this incident occurred in a location that featured heavily in the Armenian Genocide, during which time forced conversions of children were common.
In addition to the legal compliant, the parliamentary inquiry is intended to shed further light on the incident. It is unclear, however, how far the parliamentary inquiry will be allowed to proceed. President Erdogan’s AK Party remains dominant and comes under growing criticism of embracing more Islamist platforms.