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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Overcoming a century of pain

Overcoming a century of pain

Turkish and Armenian Christians circle the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia, on April 11. NOTE: faces have been blurred to protect identities.Ricardo Pessoa   “We came to share your pain,” Turkish Christians declared in early April, standing before TV cameras at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan. “We have […]

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Syriac priest wrestles with Turkey’s ethnic tensions

Syriac priest wrestles with Turkey’s ethnic tensions

In the courtyard of the 1,700-year-old church over which he presides, Fr. Yusuf Akbulut beams with pride. He points out that the excellent stone and woodwork is a result of the craftsmanship of his ethnic group, the Syriac Christians of Turkey. “The Syriacs were always the goldsmiths, metal workers, stone […]

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Pope angers Turkey over Armenia

Turkey has recalled its envoy to the Vatican after Pope Francis controversially described Turkey’s mass killing of Armenian Christians in 1915 as the “first genocide of the 20th century”. Next week will see commemoration events to mark 100 years since as many as one and a half million Armenians were […]

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Turkey moves Malatya murder trial court

In still another delay in a years-long trial over the 2007 murders of three Christians in southeast Turkey, the Zirve Publishing House trial is to be moved away from the place where the murders happened, Malatya, to another province. The pending court transfer stems from a legislative amendment which has […]

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Turkey ‘promises’ first new church in 90 years

Turkey ‘promises’ first new church in 90 years

The Turkish government allowed the first Syriac pre-school to open in Istanbul in September 2014.Mor Efrem Syriac Preschool’s Facebook photo   The Turkish government has renewed its promise to allow the construction of a new church in Istanbul, a promise first made by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) […]

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Pope Francis addresses plight of Christians in Turkish visit

Pope Francis addresses plight of Christians in Turkish visit

Turkey’s tiny Christian population was grateful for Pope Francis’s Nov. 28-30 visit to their country, during which he called for an end to all forms of violent fundamentalism in the war-torn Middle East. In a Nov. 30 joint statement with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of the Eastern Orthodox […]

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