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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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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Turkish state blocks election of a new Armenian Patriarch

Turkish state blocks election of a new Armenian Patriarch

For the sixth time since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the government of constitutionally “secular” Turkey has openly intervened in the selection of a new Armenian Patriarch to lead the nation’s largest Christian community. Now estimated at less than 40,000, Turkey’s Armenian community – located primarily in […]

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Bomb scare intimidates another church in Turkey

Trabzon church in a 2007 photo (World Watch Monitor)

Turkish police were called to Trabzon’s Santa Maria Catholic Church on Sunday morning (4 February) to examine a smouldering device spotted in the garden by alarmed church staff. After discovering a partially burned homemade pipe bomb, which had failed to explode, local authorities promptly checked the church’s security camera footage. […]

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