Turkey among 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution

Turkey among 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution –

Open Doors has released its latest World Watch List (WWL). The annual list ranks the top 50 countries “where Christians face the most persecution,” aiming to create “effective anger” on believers’ behalf.

Turkey ranks 45 in the top 50 list of countries where Christians face the most persecution.  


Leader: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Population: 79.6 million (219,000 Christians)
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Republic
World Watch List Rank: 45
Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism/ Religious nationalism

The presence of radical Islam, the ethnic conflict, and a regime that aims to Islamise the country are all affecting the church in Turkey.

The renewed fighting between the government’s military forces and the Kurds is stimulating Turkish nationalism to new heights, which is impacting all believers, but converts from Islam most of all. Pressure on them from both family and community is especially acute. The presence of Islamic fundamentalists in Turkey has already proved to be a huge threat for Protestant pastors; Muslim-background believers can expect similar treatment.


Why are Christians persecuted, though? What is it that drives persecution? Open Doors has identified eight main ‘engines’ of persecution.

  • Islamic extremism – bringing the country/world under the ‘House of Islam’ through violent/non- violent actions
  • Religious nationalism – one religion is defined as the sole basis of national/ethnic identity, either by the state or by extremist groups eg Hindutva ideology in India
  • Tribal antagonism – the continuing influence of age-old norms and values shaped in tribal context
  • Denominational protectionism – churches do not recognise or want to give room to Christians outside their structure or theological definition
  • Communist oppression – seeking to maintain communism (however defined) as the prescriptive national ideology
  • Aggressive secularism – attempting to eradicate the Christian faith from the public and private domain
  • Organised corruption – the creation of a climate of impunity, anarchy and corruption as a means for getting rich
  • Totalitarian paranoia – in which religious freedoms suffer, alongside other freedoms, in the attempt to maintain power.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.