Christian clerics alarmed at growing threats, persecution in Turkey

Pastor Semir Serkek

On the night of April 7, immediately after an Easter service, three unidentified individuals attacked and beat Pastor Semir Serkek of the Protestant Church in Istanbul’s Bahçelievler district.

“They were three people around the age of 18. They wore [prayer caps] on their heads. They forced the door open and said they were going to kill me unless I recited the ‘Kelime-i Sahadet’ [Islamic confession of faith]. I received a severe blow to my chest,” Serkek told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Christian clerics in Turkey have expressed their anxiety regarding the growing threats they face.

“Attacks against Christian clerics drop off for a while, then they begin to re-energize. [Such attacks] have begun to accelerate again in recent days. We hesitate when opening our doors and welcoming the faithful inside,” Pastor Krikor Agabaloglu of the Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church in Istanbul told the Daily News.

Pastor Orhan Picaklar of the Agape Protestant Church in the Black Sea province of Samsun also said he has been living with a personal escort 24 hours a day for the past four years, since a plot to assassinate him first came to light. “Police [officers] keep watch at the door during mass; the believers are afraid to enter the church due to the threat to their lives,” he said.

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

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