There is widespread discrimination against Christians and Christianity in Turkey, as is shown by the ongoing plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the remaining Christians in that country. 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 Christians, 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 not long 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.
“‘A Sign of Dark Times to Come’: Brunson Warns Christians in Turkey Bracing for Persecution,” by Stephen Little, CBN News, June 28, 2019:
Turkey’s church sees trouble ahead. American Pastor Andrew Brunson, testified this week before the US Commission on International Religious Freedom about the coming danger.
Brunson spent two years in prison and house arrest in Turkey, accused of being a ‘terrorist’ by the Erdogan government. He told the commission the same tactic is being used against other foreign Christians to force them to leave the country, and that’s causing hardship for the church.
“The Turkish government does not allow the church to set up training and education programs to develop leaders and one result of this is a lack of trained pastors, so foreigners have helped to fill this gap. Over 50 Protestant families have had to leave the country in recent years,” Brunson said.
“Many churches have been negatively affected, and in Izmir where I served, five churches have lost their senior leaders. To put this in perspective, this is close to half the churches in that city of four million people,” he said….
“Another Turkish leader wrote to me a few days ago. He said, some Turkish Christians have started to ask, ‘After the foreigners are sent away, what will the government do to us?’ And this is a good question. According to some Turkish leaders, there is, I quote, ‘an expectation’ from the government of action against Turkish church leaders — arrest, investigations, we don’t know. So I think the acceleration of Turkish church leaders is a sign of dark times to come. Turkey is not there, yet, but it is careening in the wrong direction.”…