Persecution of Christians in Turkey: discrimination against Christians and Christianity in Turkey’s educational system is just one aspect of the ongoing plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the remaining Christians in that country. Muslims who convert to Christianity face a variety of difficulties, as this article indicates. The Turkish government has been for decades pursuing policies that will ultimately end with the extinguishing of Orthodox Christianity in Turkey. Christians of other faith traditions will fare no better.

We hope and pray that the U.S. State Department will pressure the Turkish government to end these policies, provide for equitable treatment of Christian children and teachers in Turkey’s educational system, including converts to Christianity; reopen the Halki seminary; grant property rights to the Ecumenical Patriarchate; and end interference in the elections of the Ecumenical Patriarchs. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo some time ago reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to protecting the religious freedom of Christians in the Middle East; we urgently request him to make the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all the Christians of Turkey his top priority.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“Turkish Christian Teacher Suspended,” International Christian Concern, November 10, 2019:

11/10/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – A Turkish teacher of religious culture and ethics lessons is preparing a lawsuit following a suspension from her position after it became known that she was no longer Muslim. The Ministry of National Education is currently investigating the suspension.

According to Turkish law, a teacher is not required to be Muslim for any teacher positions. However, students are required to attend Islamic religious classes. Indeed, the government is slowly transitioning towards an education system that is more Islamic than secular. 798 Imam Hatip Schools were added to the 2018-2019 school year, and the number of students receiving this education has reached 1.3 million, according to Turkish news. It is anticipated that the budget for 2020-2022 will break a record 30 billion TL.

Discrimination based on religion is not legal in Turkey, but nonetheless occurs often….

Photo by M.K.T. Istanbul – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,