Turkey’s believers hope for freedom.

By October 13, 2004

Turkey (MNN)–Topping today’s news, entering the European Union allows Istanbul’s Christians a fragile hope of freedom.

Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton says while Turkey is not a ‘restricted’ country, trouble does exist. It’s about believers being able to defend outreach in addition to worship. “It is the local police or local leadership that is doing the persecuting, rather than the government. The Christians there obviously are hoping that, if indeed Turkey is accepted into the European Union, that it will result in more religious freedom and in less harassment and persecution for Christians.”

The EU Commission gave a green light to paving the way for the country to join, with approval hinging on improving humanitarian rights records and religious freedoms.

Turkey’s president protested the black eye on religious rights, insisting citizens had the freedom to choose a faith to follow. However, there are still troubling reports on the local authorities overzealously enforcing laws.

Nettleton says it all boils down to social pressure from the larger government coalition. As for their evangelistic work, “Hopefully, being in the European Union will provide even more freedom to travel and meet with Christians in other parts of Europe. For ministry, I don’t necessarily think it will have a great effect. I think that the ministry that is going on will continue hopefully, there will be more ministry that is focused on reaching that part of the world.”

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