Christian Persecution: Turkey, the EU and Treatment of Turkish Christians

Turkey was once a Christian country.

However, from the Fall of Constantinople until now, Christians have been subjected to severe discrimination and violence. This violence reached its peak with the Armenian Genocide early in the 20th Century.

I have seen the tiny corners of society into which Christians are pushed in Turkey. I stood at the spot where the Patriarch was hung by a mob in the early 20th Century. Christians can not build churches there, and there are severe restrictions on ordination of new priests.

Turkey is a beautiful country with many wonderful people. Their hospitality is incredible. I believe that Turkey can become a great nation. But it must move past its history of discrimination and violence against Christians to do this.

An important German politician recently took the same position regarding Turkey’s admission into the European Union. Volker Kauder, chairman of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, says that Turkey must allow Christians to build churches in Turkey before it can be admitted to the EU.

Frankly, I think that is a bare minimum. Christians in Turkey should have the same rights as all other citizens. They should be free to worship, and to witness for their faith publicly.

Volker Kauder, chairman of the Christian Democratic Union in Germany
Vorderstrasse / CC BY 3.0

Volker Kauder, chairman of the Christian Democratic Union in Germany
Vorderstrasse / CC BY 3.0
A leading German politician has criticised Turkey’s record on religious freedom, saying that the country should allow Christians to build churches without restrictions if it wants to join the EU.
Volker Kauder, chairman of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, told a party congress last Wednesday (5 December) that he expected a “clear signal” on the issue from the Turkish government before membership talks, which began in 2005, could continue.
He said:
country that wants to be part of Europe must accept the basic principle of religious freedom. That means, that we expect Christians in Turkey to be able to build churches without any restrictions, just as Muslims build mosques here in Germany.
The EU has previously criticised Turkey’s treatment of its Christian community, which comprises less than 0.1% of the population. Despite Turkey’s having the veneer of a modern secular state, Christians face much discrimination, restrictions and occasional violence. The rights of churches to own property, conduct services and open other facilities such as theological schools are limited.
Despite Turkey’s human rights abuses, Britain has been a strong supporter of the country’s accession to the EU. Member states are divided on the issue.
Mr Kauder’s comments come as the deadline for a draft of the new Turkish constitution looms with no sign of a consensus; the protection of freedom of religion or belief is one of the disputed issues.(Read more here.)

  • http:/ D. Justine

    Religious tolerance is an essential need of our time.

  • Manny

    Kudos to the German chairman, and down with Britain. What the heck is wrong with Britain lately when it comes to Christianity? I never see a positive thing come out of Britain lately when it deals with Christians. Even in the most progressive Islamic country, Turkey, Islam’s intolerence is there for the world to see.

  • Art Chartier

    Turkey is, unfortunately, going in quite the opposite direction under the leadership of Islamic Supremacist Recep Tayyip Erdoğan… and the vast majority of Turkish people have been happily going along with him.

    Over the last 10 years Erdogan has systematically moved Turkey away from the Western/Ataturk sphere of influence into the Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood sphere… away from NATO into the OIS ( Erdogan knows Turkey will never be admitted into the EU… and he doesn’t care. Watch his progress in building a huge new Grand Mosque on Istanbul’s highest hill on the Asian/Financial/Diplomatic side of the city… dominating the landscape and dwarfing Ataturk monuments in the same area. Symbolism is everything.

    For more information on this read Andrew McCarthy’s book “Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.” Also check out for ongoing discussions and commentary on the subject.

    Also – Turkey is vitriolically anti-Semetic (I experienced this first hand) and has reversed years of military cooperation with Israel under the Ataturk gang to become an implacable enemy on every front. (BTW: giving these guys anti-missle defense systems is a bad idea.) What we are watching now in Egypt – the highjacking of democracy by the Muslim Brotherhood and the introduction of Sharia law… has been going on in Turkey for years under the radar.

    I spent two weeks in Istanbul last year with my family… it is a beautiful city. But it is headed in the wrong direction and won’t turn around any time soon. Pray for Christians in Turkey… they need it.

  • shaunthebrummie

    what the west shold be doing is removing the parasitical muslims from the west..stop all trade,ban all travel,and have a closed border with the muslim world.remove them from yes..but immigration no..after reading about the treatment of christians in turkey and the muslim world in general…mosques should be closed.and no special rights and MUSLIMS in the west.