Turkey: New report shows increased hardship for Protestant churches

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A new report shows that Protestant Christians in Turkey suffered increased harassment from government authorities in 2021, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

In their recent report on Christian persecution, the Association of Protestant Churches (APC) said believers in Turkey faced ongoing problems with their legal status, establishing places of worship, and training religious workers, ICC said.

There are over 186 Protestant fellowships in Turkey, mostly in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, ICC said. Although Protestant churches are required to register as associations or religious foundations, they struggle to gain acceptance as official places of worship: almost all congregations meet in a home or rented office space; only 11 meet in a traditional church building.

According to the APC reports, Protestant churches receive no funding to help train their religious workers. Turkey has also deported 185 foreign protestant religious workers, including their spouses and children, since 2019. Moreover, most protestant foreign workers applying for entry to Turkey received an N-82 code - a code that other countries use to deny entry to terrorists or political activists.

In a website overview about the persecution of Christians in Turkey, Open Doors said: “Christians in Turkey experience incredible pressure from very strong—and increasing—religious nationalism in Turkey. The government continues to target even foreign Christians within its borders, along with the foreign spouses of Turkish citizens.”

Turkey ranks 42nd on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.