Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Victory for Turkish house church amid an...

Email:

Victory for Turkish house church amid anti-Christian hostility

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Victory for Turkish house church amid anti-Christian hostility

Country/Region: Turkey

A house church in Turkey has finally been granted legal status after a long battle with the authorities in a case that highlights the ongoing difficulties for Turkish Christians regarding places of worship.

Turkish Christians face difficulties in finding places to worship
Turkish Christians face difficulties in finding places to worship

The Protestant group in the eastern province of Van has been meeting in a two-storey house for seven years, during which time it has made frequent attempts to obtain a licence for the building to be recognised as a place of worship.

Despite finally granting the churchs request, the authorities appear to remain hostile to it. Christians in Turkey are viewed with widespread prejudice and suspicion; they are traditionally associated with the West and are thus considered disloyal to the state. Islam is seen as a major part of Turkish identity.

Following the churchs official opening, Mustafa Bilici, a Van deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party, said:

It is great heedlessness to open new churches in Muslim societies that are acting as stooges for Zionist activities.

Vahit Yildiz, one of the church elders, said that the congregations only desire was to worship freely, but that the authorities viewed them as a threat:

They see us as persons who deceive people and who have a secret agenda... The quintessential reason behind the fear is the ... rhetoric employed by some of [the countrys] leaders, which deeply saddens us, besides the prejudices formed by the public.

Threats and violence

Anti-Christian hostility in Turkey sometimes boils over into threats and acts of violence; six Christians have been martyred in recent years, while converts from Islam are especially vulnerable to harassment. Christian buildings have also been attacked.

Mr Yildiz said:

The way is being paved for similar attacks as long as the true perpetrators remain unexposed and judiciary penalties are not applied.

He said that because of such incidents, his church was being very careful, while other Christians in the east (where some of the more high-profile attacks have taken place) would continue meeting in house churches unless measures were taken to protect them from threats and violence.

Despite Turkeys long Christian heritage, dating back to Biblical times, it is now overwhelmingly Muslim, and Islamism is growing in strength. As part of its preparation for EU entry, Turkey promised to liberalise laws restricting non-Islamic religions, but Christians, who comprise only around 0.1 per cent of the population, continue to face endless obstructions.

They face particular difficulty in opening, maintaining and operating places of worship. Religious services may take place only in locations designated by the government, and landlords are reluctant to rent private property to churches for fear of harassment by the police. Consequently, many congregations meet "underground" in peoples homes.

Mr Yildiz said:

Due to a lack of sufficient church buildings and [the authorities refusal] to grant a Religious Designation License, there are over 100 house groups and rented places of worship all across Turkey.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Victory for Turkish house church amid anti-Christian hostility

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Give thanks that the authorities in Egypt are pursuing justice for the Christian community following widespread violence against them by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer. Christians were scapegoated by the Islamists for the downfall of President Mohammed Morsi. On 14 August, mobs torched scores of churches, Christian institutions and private property in what was described as the worst single day of violence against the Egyptian Church since the 14th century. Over 100 Muslims have been charged in connection with the attacks; at the time of writing they were due to stand trial for rioting, attacking citizens and targeting the churches and homes of Christians. Pray that justice will be done and restitution made to churches and individuals who suffered material losses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 8 hours ago

    • “I was so happy and treasure this Word of God. It brings me so much peace and hope.” Uu Dee KoMang, an elderly woman in Burma (Myanmar), was one of many Christians who recently received a Kachin Bible through Barnabas Fund. Two years ago the Burmese army entered her village and ordered everyone to leave within the hour. Uu Dee took some clothes and food and ran, but her Bible was too heavy to carry. Now living in a relocation camp, she regretted not taking it, until the Bibles from Barnabas arrived. Pray that God’s Word will comfort and strengthen these believers who have lost so much and will give them encouragement for the future. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Pray for three Christian prisoners of conscience in Vietnam who are being denied access to Bibles and other sources of spiritual support. Prison guards in Hanoi and Thanh Hoa province have refused to allow Le Quoc Quan, a lawyer and activist, and bloggers Maria To Phong Tan and Paul Tran Minh Nhat to receive visits from their church leaders and have prevented them from receiving Communion. Maria is serving a ten-year prison sentence in a harsh labour camp; she has been beaten by other inmates. Pray that the Lord will sustain and build up the faith of our brothers and sister as they cry out to Him in their need (Psalm 142:6). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Five ethnic Hmong Christian families in Vietnam have been attacked by their neighbours in attempts to get them to renounce their faith. On 26 February, Hang A Khua and his family were ordered to recant by public security officers, backed by around 30 villagers from Trun Phu in Dien Bien province; when they refused, the officers ordered the villagers to attack them. The mob ransacked and demolished the family’s house; their rice fields were confiscated, and they were expelled from the district. In Son La province, four more Christian families were similarly threatened in March. One couple were attacked in their home; they were kicked and punched, and the wife was dragged out of the house by her hair. Give thanks for these families’ courageous stand for Christ and pray that they will find strength in Him. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Pray for around 400 Christian families in the Con Dau area of Da Nang province in Vietnam whose homes have been demolished. The Christians were driven from their homes in a raid by police, security agents and the army at 7am on 27 March. The authorities have seized the land to build a luxury tourist resort; they decided in 2010 to destroy all the houses and the local cemetery used by the displaced Christians, who have been offered no adequate compensation or any help for resettlement. Pray that God will meet all their needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Jul 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks