“Turkey’s Christians are facing increasing persecution. We cannot forget them.”

August 26, 2018

This article states: “There are very few Christians left in Turkey; soon there may be none at all.” That is true. The situation in Turkey, however, is even worse than this article portrays. Our Orthodox Faith is being challenged by the Turkish Government. If not addressed, this could lead to the asphyxiation of Orthodox Christians and the eradication of Orthodox Christianity in Turkey. The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are fighting to defend and protect the religious freedoms of our Holy and Great Mother Church.

“Turkey’s Christians are facing increasing persecution. We cannot forget them,” by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, Catholic Herald, August 18, 2018:

…Turkey is, after all, a member of NATO, it occupies a strategic position between Europe and the Middle East, it has the potential to be act as a bridge of understanding between us and the Islamic world, and it is often lauded as a secular and democratic Muslim-majority state. For years, America has courted Turkey, and for years Turkey has been a candidate for membership of the European Union.

All that is looking a bit jaded now. For a start, Turkey’s candidature for the European Union has made no progress, despite some not-too-subtle American pushing. Moreover, thanks to President Erdogan, Turkey looks less and less democratic by the day, and correspondingly less secular. Rather than being a bridge country, Turkey now seems to be flirting with a neo-Ottoman future….

At present, the world’s attention is on the case of a Christian pastor who has been held in a Turkish jail for nearly two years, and is now under house arrest, on the charge of espionage. Andrew Brunson’s case has now been taken up by President Trump…This will be very popular in America, and it will add to the perception that Turkey is not the sort of place where the rule of law counts for much. Conversely, President Erdogan’s imprisonment of the pastor may play well to his core constituency in the Anatolian heartland. Meanwhile, the whole case, and the economic war it has unleashed, will make Turkey’s tiny Christian minority very nervous. They may well get the blame.

…President Trump is most unlikely to back down, and many will question why he should, though, if truth be told, a de-escalation of the rhetoric would give the Pastor a better chance of being set free. As predicted, more of Turkey’s Christians will choose to emigrate. As for those of us who want good relations with Turkey – and that includes the Vatican, which has courted Turkey for years (four of the last five Popes have visited Turkey) – we may well feel close to despair.

Turkey, as visitors will know, has a rich cultural heritage, but these cultural remains are an indictment of its present. The empty churches speak volumes about the Christians who used to live there but no longer do so. What is sad is that the Turkish government does not seem to think that this a problem. There are very few Christians left in Turkey; soon there may be none at all….