Turkey (MNN) — The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has criticized Turkey’s blasphemy law.
A new report says the government recently sued music streaming service Spotify over playlists that supposedly insulted Islam. Turkish officials also threatened a popular singer after a song referred to Adam and Eve as “ignorant.”
In another incident, four students faced arrest for displaying LGBT flags near a religious site. Hearings about the case have continued since 2021.
In 2020, authorities arrested a journalist for criticizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s pandemic response. A well-known Turkish scientist fell under investigation in 2022 for saying government officials believed in fairy tales.
You can read the full USCIRF report here.
Greg Kelley with World Mission says, “We have to look back at what the leader is doing, Erdoğan. He can impose this even upon potential people that are running against him in politics. He could pull out the blasphemy card and accuse them of blasphemy. We’re talking about an Islamic dictator who wants to be a lifetime president by winning fake elections.”
Turkey will hold presidential elections in June 2023.
Kelley says Turkish Christians often find themselves targeted by the blasphemy law. “What they think is that human-made laws can stifle the advancement of the Church. They don’t understand that the Holy Spirit pays no attention to that. The trick is that we need to come alongside these leaders that are in the midst of the fire to encourage them.”
“It is very difficult. It is challenging. It’s very different from what we face here in the U.S.”
Despite the resistance, Kelley says the Church is growing throughout Turkey. Pray they will be strengthened. And ask God to soften the heart of President Erdoğan.