Turkey Christian persecution: Report submitted to Human Rights Committee

Monday, May 24, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A report has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee about the persecution of Protestant Christians in Turkey, and about restrictions imposed against foreign Christians in the country, International Christian Concern reported Sunday.

The report was compiled and submitted by the four NGOs Middle East Concern, Protestant Kiliseger, World Evangelical Alliance, and European Evangelical Alliance, ICC said.

According to the NGOs, Turkey’s action toward Protestant Christians violates not only its own constitution but also a major international treaty to which it subscribed in 2003: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Contrary to the ICCPR, Turkey restricts freedom of religion for its minority communities. Freedom of religion is restricted, particularly as it pertains to minority communities. Moreover, the Turkish government imposes travel and legal status restrictions on foreign Protestant Christians who live there: these restrictions limit outreach and missionary work, ICC reports. Turkey also discriminated against Christian churches in regard to COVID-19 restrictions, the NGO’s said in their report. Mosques were allowed to hold services at the weekend, whereas churches were not.

In particular, the report highlights Turkey’s forced deportation of Christians.“The forced expulsion of Christians from Turkey is certainly not a new phenomenon,” the report says. “The similarities with the 20th-century expulsion of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians is disturbing. It shows that these attitudes remain embodied in the Turkish state apparatus to the extent that the Interior Ministry can label expatriate pastors, evangelists, and ordinary church members as security threats, and enforce their deportation in violation of their human rights.”