Escalation of Religious Freedom Violations in Turkey

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International Christian Concern (ICC) has observed a marked increase of reported religious freedom violations within Turkey since the start of the New Year. While most of these recent violations mainly impact church buildings, they also include a lack of interest by the authorities of pursuing and protecting justice for Christian victims.

Turkey’s historic churches are often inaccessible for traditional Christians because of government regulations. Churches are seen as a source of income both by the government (faith tourism) and by society (treasure hunters). Otherwise, church buildings are neglected by the government and often turned into mosques. Recent incidents include:

  • Restoration of Saint Michael Church in Trabzon Province completed with the intention to open as a museum later this year.
  • Destruction of St. Toros Armenian Church in Kütahya Province despite its designation as an “Immovable Requiring Protection.”