Two threats to Iranian Christians in Türkiye

By July 27, 2023
pixabay, turkey, stock photo

Türkiye (MNN) — The Russia-Ukraine war is creating a new crisis for Christian refugees in Türkiye.

“No one wants Iranian Christian refugees as a tenant; if they can find someone else, that’s better for them,” Lana Silk with Transform Iran says.

“Our people are constantly facing competition from an influx of hundreds of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians coming with cash into Türkiye and renting these buildings and apartments.”

(Graphic courtesy of Transform Iran)

Türkiye hosts nearly four million refugees and asylum-seekers, the world’s largest refugee population. Plus, historic earthquakes leveled hundreds of thousands of buildings in February, making it even tougher to find a home.

“Whether church buildings or residential apartments, we’re finding that Christian refugees are the first to be pushed out, with landlords increasing rent quickly with no notice,” Silk says.

Transform Iran partners with two Iranian Christian churches in Ankara. “The landlord just told us we have to either vacate the premises or take an immediate tripling of the rent,” Silk says.

“These are church buildings we have decorated, equipped, and repaired; it’s a huge loss.”

Deportation poses another imminent threat. Police frequently stop Iranian Christian refugees on the street to check their paperwork.

Or, “authorities will turn up at their apartments and go through all their stuff, and then they (refugees) will be told that moment, ‘Right. You’ve been put down for deportation,’” Silk says.

“We have to access legal services to fight these deportations because it’s so dangerous for our people to be sent back to Iran.”

Partner with Transform Iran here to help underwrite some of the associated costs. “We are doing our best to help them, but the number and scale of challenges [are] increasing by the day,” Silk says.

Most importantly, pray. “Pray specifically for the Christian refugees in Türkiye; it is dangerous for them,” Silk requests.

“Pray for those at risk of deportation. We have people right now who are in imminent danger of being sent back to Iran.”




Header image depicts the Turkish flag. (Wikimedia Commons)