Growing Pressure Against Turkish Christians
A recent report on Turkey by the European Commission has highlighted the ongoing persecution of Christians in 2016, stating that, “Hate speech and hate crimes against Christians and Jews continued to be repeatedly reported.”
Typical incidents recorded by churches include Islamic anti-Christian posters and graffiti being deliberately placed near church buildings, anonymous threats sent by text and email to church pastors, as well as physical attacks. In many cases, no official action is taken by police, despite crimes being reported.
Since the attempted coup in July 2016, the Turkish government has cracked down on Christian activity, citing national security concerns. Last month, the pastor of a church in Izmir was arrested for “threatening national security”, and several foreign nationals involved in Christian ministry have recently had residence permits rescinded.
Turkish police have openly stated that the activities of Christian missionaries are now regarded as a security threat.
Christians also continue to be discriminated against in legal cases over property, a fact highlighted by the European Commission’s report: “Court cases on property restitution continued, including on ownership of the land on which the Syriac Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery is built … Latin Catholic churches still have neither legal personality nor foundation status, making it impossible for them to register property or seek restitution.”
The tiny Christian minority in Turkey now live in a climate of growing instability, facing hatred, threats and physical violence in a context of increasing political repression and government-sponsored Islamisation; the church in Turkey needs our prayers.
- Pray for the Church in Turkey, and for Turkish Christians who are facing growing opposition to their faith.
- Pray for the Turkish government to be true to its constitution in allowing freedom of belief and worship for all people.
- Pray for churches across Turkey who struggle to gain registration or have had land confiscated by the government. Pray for justice to prevail for Christian communities in this land.
- Pray for Christian mission workers in Turkey who face uncertainty with a number of visas being refused. Pray for peace in the uncertainty, and for projection over local Christian workers too.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to move across this nation, the birth place of Christianity. Pray for many to rediscover their Christian roots and to know the truth of Jesus Christ as Saviour, Lord and King.
Amos 5 vs 24: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”