Persecution Update, September 2016: Turkey

Turkey ranks among the top 50 nations that persecutes Christians. Although Turkey has long been committed to being a secular nation, this is rapidly changing as fanatical Islamic factions pursue efforts to drive out the Christian minority population. In a country of 85,000 Muslim mosques, Protestant Christians are forbidden to build church buildings. Those believers who meet in storefronts must by law call their assemblies “associations,” not churches. At one time there were 2 million Christians in Turkey, but that number has declined dramatically to only about 5,000 evangelical believers today. There are almost as many Sunni Muslim imams on the government payroll as there are Christians. In the attempted coup against President Erdogan in July, imams stirred up Muslims to target Christians. The only storefront that was attacked in the city of Malatya was a Protestant church, which was not surprising in that Malatya was the scene of the torture and massacre of three Christians by Muslim attackers in 2007. All three worked in a Bible publishing house, and their attackers are still at large. Please intercede for God to give grace to these believers to persevere in such a hostile environment.