Published: 00:01 GMT Daylight Time - Tuesday 03 April 2012
Lent Prayer - Turkey
Country/Region: Turkey, Middle East and North Africa
"The rhetoric employed by some of the [country's] leaders, besides the prejudices formed by the public, deeply saddens us." (A church leader in Van, Turkey)
A team of Christian doctors and a nurse provided free medical care to poor and needy Christians in Istanbul for one week in the summer of 2011, thanks to Barnabas Aid
Despite having the veneer of a modern, free and secular state, Turkey is not an easy place for Christians to live out their faith. Christians face much societal discrimination and occasional violence. They must also deal with suffocating bureaucratic restrictions from the government, which severely impede the growth of the small Christian communities.
Some of Turkey’s Christian groups have a rich heritage dating back to Biblical times. But now Christians comprise less than 0.1 per cent of the total population, while the overwhelming majority is Muslim. “Turkishness” is held to include being a Muslim, and so Christians are viewed with suspicion. They are often portrayed very negatively in the media. Christians who shared their faith or taught Christianity to children have sometimes faced harassments, even though freedom of religion is upheld in the constitution. Several pastors have reported received threatening telephone calls or messages, necessitating police protection. Converts from Islam are especially vulnerable to harassment, and Islamism is also gaining strength.
In 2011 the government promised to return some of the property previously confi scated from Christian groups and has indicated that Turkey’s constitution will give better protection to Christian minorities.
Barnabas Aid projects include:
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2012” -.