Turkey’s Religious Freedom Record Slides:
Pastor in Black Sea region’s bastion of nationalism feels the hate; slow justice in Malatya.
ISTANBUL, April 9 (CDN) — Sentiment against Christians in Turkey has persisted long enough for a U.S. religious rights monitor to recommend it as a “Country of Particular Concern,” and pastor Orhan Picaklar knows such anti-Christian hostility first-hand.
Picaklar, of Agape Church in Samsun, lives in the Black Sea region, a bastion of Turkey’s unique Islamic-imbued nationalism, where Christians live under increasing pressure. He has seen his building attacked and his family and congregation threatened.
“Just as it is difficult to belong to Jesus all over the world, unfortunately it is the same in Samsun, if not worse,” Picaklar said. “We have been here for 10 years, and people here still treat us like cursed enemies. Our families feel anxiety. On the hour my wife calls me and I have to say, ‘There’s no problem,’ as if to say, ‘I’m still alive.’”