Turkey (MNN) — As if believers in Turkey didn’t have enough to deal with, evangelical leaders are now receiving death threats from ISIS.
“These threats are against Islamic converts to Christianity,” Rody Rodeheaver of International Needs explains.
“ISIS wants to make an example of them, and are threatening to do just that.”
This news, along with increased fighting between PKK terrorists and the Turkish military, has set the Church in Turkey on edge.
Though they’ve escalated at an alarming rate recently, the troubles in Turkey’s east are nothing new.
“For years and years and years, the Kurds and the Turks have been struggling,” Rodeheaver says.
A Kurdish presence in Turkey threatens the native Turkish population, he explains, especially because the Kurds are growing in number. If the Kurds get political power, Rodheaver adds, the Turks fear they will lose control of the country.
As a result, Turkish forces have been battling to subdue Kurdish militants in eastern Turkey since the summer began. According to Bloomberg News, over 100 police officers and soldiers have been killed in Kurdish attacks.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is spearheading the recent unrest.
“Up until the last month or so, things had been fairly settled; not a lot of overt military action against the PKK by the government,” explains Rodeheaver.
“Now, that is changing, and it is sending a shockwave through the government and also the general population.”
Against this backdrop of chaos, International Needs is fighting to make the peril faced by Turkish Christians known.
Last week, International Needs’ ministry leader in Turkey flew to the capital at the request of several governmental leaders.
While there, he spoke to the serious danger posed to Turkish Christians by the recent ISIS death threats.
It was also an important opportunity to remind the Turkish Parliament that– under Turkey’s Constitution–Christianity is a legitimate member and deserves protection.
Will you stand with International Needs in prayer?
“What we’re praying is that one: these pastors will be protected,” shares Rodeheaver.
“Two: we’re praying that this will be an opportunity for the Christian Church to speak out and share with the rest of Turkey that they, along with the Muslim population–in a Republic–have freedom of religion.”
“We have the ministries going on, but [we need help],” Rodeheaver says.