Since the failed coup of July 2016, the level of intolerance against those not siding with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has intensified. Turkish nationalism, combined with the growing Islamisation of Turkish society, means the tiny Christian minority, and other religious minorities, face mounting pressure, which is increasingly translating into violent incidents. While religious conversion is not prohibited by Turkish law, there are serious implications for Muslims who convert to Christianity, as they often experience intense pressure from family, friends and community to return to Islam.

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Turkey returns confiscated Syriac church property deeds

Turkey returns confiscated Syriac church property deeds

Syriac Orthodox Christians have welcomed the Turkish government’s return of 55 title deeds, representing nearly half of their ancient church properties in southeast Turkey, which had been confiscated by the state in recent years. Fifty of the official property deeds were delivered to the Syriacs’ 4th century Mor Gabriel Monastery […]

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Brunson’s lawyer: secret witness practice ‘absolutely outlandish’

Lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt speaking with journalists at the entrance to the Sakran Prison complex on 7 May, 2018.

At the close of Turkey’s second trial hearing against US pastor Andrew Brunson, his lawyer has sharply protested the Izmir court’s reliance on secret prosecution witnesses against his client. Jailed for the past 19 months, the 50-year-old Evangelical Presbyterian minister was sent back to his cell in a maximum-security prison […]

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Brunson’s trial highlights Turkey’s ‘hostage diplomacy’ tactic

Brunson’s trial highlights Turkey’s ‘hostage diplomacy’ tactic

On the eve of jailed US pastor Andrew Brunson’s second court hearing in Turkey, growing international comment has focused on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s transparent “hostage diplomacy” tactic, one of several issues seriously souring his nation’s relations with the United States. The upcoming 7 May hearing near Turkey’s third-largest […]

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On trial for terrorism and espionage in a Turkish court

On trial for terrorism and espionage in a Turkish court

Just one prisoner, slightly built, came through a side door, escorted on either side by armed gendarmerie soldiers, walking him past rows and rows of empty seats. Dressed in a dark suit and white shirt, he glanced up at the impressive state-of-the-art courtroom, built to accommodate 650 people. Its walls […]

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Erdogan demands Gulen extradition for US pastor’s release

Erdogan demands Gulen extradition for US pastor’s release

Responding over the weekend to public pressure from both US President Donald Trump and 66 members of the US Senate, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan repeated his demand that US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen must be extradited back to Turkey if Washington expects Ankara to release jailed US pastor Andrew […]

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Turkey’s Churches publish landmark book of common Christian doctrine

Turkey’s Churches publish landmark book of common Christian doctrine

A joint commission of Turkey’s major Christian denominations has published an historic book of concise Christian doctrine, receiving the unprecedented endorsement of all the nation’s Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian, Syriac and Protestant Churches. According to Armenian Bishop Sahak Masalyan, keynote speaker at the formal book launch in Istanbul of the English […]

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Turkey calls for life imprisonment of US pastor Andrew Brunson

A photo of the Rev. Andrew Brunson during his time in prison.  Photo courtesy of World Witness

Turkish prosecutors demanded life imprisonment for jailed US pastor Andrew Brunson in an official indictment presented to Izmir’s 2nd Criminal Court yesterday, 13 March. Arrested without bail since October 2016, Brunson is accused of being “a member and executive” of the Islamic movement led by self-exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, […]

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