Fri 31st Oct 2014 | Last updated: Fri 31st Oct 2014 at 12:46pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo

Comment & Blogs

Another gross example of the repression of Christianity in Turkey

Why are we still seriously considering Turkish membership of the EU?

By on Thursday, 24 February 2011

Pope Benedict XVI, accompanied by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his 2006 visit to Turkey (Picture: PA)

Pope Benedict XVI, accompanied by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his 2006 visit to Turkey (Picture: PA)

Yet more evidence has emerged that Turkey’s proposed membership of the EU should be definitively ruled out on the grounds of the incompatibility of the proposed partners. To put it simply, despite the increasingly secular nature of contemporary Europe and certainly of the EU itself, nothing will ever change the fact that the cultural roots of Europe are Christian: and however insistent the Turks are about the secularity of Turkey’s political institutions, even these are beginning to show the ineradicably Islamic and increasingly Islamist character of Turkey’s underlying culture. And as an unpleasant case now unfolding demonstrates, this is Islam of a clearly anti-Christian character.

Briefly, the Turkish Prime Minister, Recip Erdogan, has put his weight behind attempts to crush a small Christian community and to seize an important part of its assets. Though there are now only a few thousand Syro-Orthodox Christians left, they are still in occupation of one of the oldest monasteries anywhere in the world.

There are now under way legal attempts to seize the land surrounding the monastery (necessary for the community’s continued existence) amid claims that the monastery itself was built on land on which there had once been a mosque; this, despite the fact that the monastery predates Islam by several centuries (!!!!). Here is Zenit’s take on the affair, just in case you think I’m just showing some kind of anti-Islamic bias:


Expropriation of Monastery Land Seen as Effort to Squash Syriacs

By Paul de Maeyer ROME, FEB. 18, 2011 ( Not even the Mongols of the 14th century, when they killed 40 monks and some 400 faithful, succeeded in making one of the most ancient Christian convents in the world disappear, but perhaps Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, can.

This appears to be the case of the Syro-Orthodox monastery of Mor Gabriel …. It is located in the region of Turabdin in the southeast of Anatolia. The convent bears the name of Mor Gabriel (634-668), bishop of Turabdin, known for his witness of holiness and miracles….

The monastery is at the center of a harsh battle initiated in 2008 by the leaders of three Kurdish villages dominated by a tribe supported in Parliament by one of their leaders, Suleyman Celebi, who is a Parliamentarian with the pro-Islamic ruling party of Erdogan (the AKP or Party of Justice and Development).

Grotesquely, Turkish secular law is being used in the furtherance of this clearly Islamist piece of anti-Christian aggression. The argument is, according to Otmar Oehring, director of the Human Rights Office of the German Catholic organisation Missio that no religious community exists or has ever existed in Turkish law. Here, perhaps, Turkish ambitions to enter the EU might be used in the defence of the community, since as Herr Oehring points out, denying the community’s very existence is “completely incompatible” with the European Convention on Human Rights. There has, in fact been considerable attention paid to this shocking scandal by German Parliamentarians, though nowhere else in the EU including the UK (why not, I wonder?)

Erika Steinbach, spokeswoman of the German parliamentary group for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, went so far as to call it a decision that symbolises “the repression of Christianity in Turkey”.

It really does seem to be the case that wherever Muslims are in a clear majority, Christianity is likely to be repressed in some way, if not actually lethally persecuted.

Turkish legal procedures have now been exhausted, and the monks of Mor Gabriel have lost the battle. The only way left for them now is, ironically, to turn to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Metropolitan Samuel Aktas told the Economist that is what he will now do: “I have remained silent in the face of these injustices”, he said, “but no longer so”.

I just hope he hasn’t left it too late. There’s one thing: if the Metropolitan wins in Strasbourg, and Erdogan goes ahead anyway, that will at least put paid to Turkish membership of the EU. But at what a terrible price: it hardly bears thinking about.

  • Anonymous

    Good luck to the Metropolitan: I am praying for him and his community.

  • W Oddie

    Amen to that.

  • Martin

    Dr Oddie, if you think this is bad you should google the Muslim version of endtimes. This is nothing in comparision with what they envisage and every reason for the church to wake up.
    (they actually are very similiar to the bible timeline (post tribulation) but reversed.

    I think however i better understanding the comments paulpriest has made on previous blogs about the need for a form of Christendom to counter this. (i am not yet sold on this idea).

    Here’s joining with nytor and praying alongside him

  • Ulla

    Just to add my observations. I’ve come to the conclusion that there must be something in it. I’ve been guiding tourists to Virgin Mary House in Ephesus(Selcuk) and I must admit there have been some strange changes concerning the security of this place. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possoble to exchange a word with the nun who has been working there since I remember. In my opinion she simply can’t talk to the tourists which she used to do in the past. Not only did Ericha Steinbach express her opnion on Turkey but there was also a debate in the Austrian Parliament. it’s possible to see it on You Tube. Ulla

  • Anonymous

    Very weird synchronicity – my young Georgian friend [an orthodox convert to Catholicism and possible future seminarian] has just moved to Turkey and attends mass at the Catholic Church where most Syro-Orthodox have been now forced to worship [their treatment is redolent of a pre-pogrom - they are constantly being moved on by belligerent civic authorities refusing them sites for even private worship - fortunately the Catholic population is concentrated enough in the area to give them 'religious' refuge - but who knows for how long?]

    Pray long: Pray hard.

  • louella

    We need Christendom ie a Catholic State. No more of this leaving ourselves at the mercy of our secular masters in the deluded hope that they will somehow ‘save’ us and other Christians from Islam! They aren’t that interested in anything except imposing their own secular ie godless law……the opposite of Christian law! They will eventually leave the West Islamised anyhow.

  • Martin

    Louella, i have discussed this with paulpriest but im not convinced that this is an option at the moment. Which nations would you consider ready to turn to a Catholic State?
    The EU laws and practises seem to me to make this a very unlikely event, happy for you to convince me otherwise though.
    In the same way the bible talks of a falling away of the faithful rather than a newly created Christendom. It is not until Christians get persecuted for their faith that they seem to get their act together and preach the Gospel effectively but that is not done as Christendom, rather as an effective Church.

    What are your thoughts?

  • Jimjoyce

    Perhaps we should not overlook the possibility that the European countries might be at home with another anti Christian state in their club.

    In this country, the media has virtually written the two million Christians who died in the Holocaust out of history. Pius XII is demonised for his indifference to the persecution of the Jews despite his heroic efforts to save thousands of them, and being condemned by Hitler as an enemy of National Socialism because of it. No one even bothers to explain why Golda Meir, hardly the least Jewish of Israeli PMs was such an admirer of his. The great courage of individual bishops in opposing the persecution of the Jews is suppressed even though this includes some of the great stories of the war.
    Again, Catholic teaching is portrayed as a bigotted, basically ignorant, reaction to the modern world, ignoring the fact that some of the greatest minds in history, possibly most of the greatest minds in the Western culture, have been Catholic.
    Lastly, even in entertainment, the writers whose work we are allowed to watch on television, all portray priests as shady characters and Christians as misguided, bigotted or both.
    For this UK Catholics are forced by law to pay a licence fee.
    Of course, the first instinct of most of the shepherds’ in England and Wales seems to be to dive for cover at the first sight of the secular wolf, or, in Soho, to throw it the odd sheep, so we cannot be too critical of secularists behaving as one would expect of them.
    However, if one’s standard of suitability for membership of the EU, includes toleration of Christians, I cannot see how we can keep the Turks out on that account. Or, if you feel strongly that the principle should stand, Doctor Oddie, perhaps you should campaign for the expulsion of the UK, and, possibly Germany and France as well.

  • louella

    Martin….I don’t want to go over it all again if you don’t mind. The EU will not survive ….that is my opinion. It is too ludicrous. You could be right about having to go through discrimination and persecution etc again…..but why wait around waiting for that to happen.

    I feel the establishment of a Christian homeland and state is a natural expression and fulfillment of our faith. To want others to rule us and look out for us seems to be a bit unatural. It’s good to be ambitious for our faith…..and where else are those opposed to Islamisation going to get help?! The answer is nowhere……except Christendom and Christians.

  • louella

    Also don’t forget……atheists and secularists have proven themselves to be totally inept when it comes to running a nation. They only seem capable of running it into the ground. Every effort of theirs is a short-lived brute failure.

  • Jogi

    I believe a Catholic state is no where to be seen in the near future as a result of globalization, however I believe that as Catholics we have to preach the gospel properly and I don’t mean standing on the street corner with bibles or shoving bibles in people’s face, we need to explain to them the rationality behind Catholic teachings. One thing I learned throughout my last two years in becoming a Catholic is that there a re perfectly logical explanations behind teachings of the Catholic Church and you don’t need to be a theologian to understand.

  • louella

    I’m not so sure Jogi. The fact is that we have been weaned off the idea of a Catholic State for so long now…..and taught that secularism is the way the truth and the life in earthly matter that it seems as if we have more faith in secular democracy than in Christ!

    This just needs a bit of challenging…….and the realisation that secular democracy is actually extremely evil, destructive and anti-Christian……yet here we Christians are all supporting it! Truly amazing.

  • louella

    Also…..we need to highlight to secularists clearly the damage that secular governance and secularism has done to their nation. The West is in decline because of secularism. And will continue to decline because there is no hope and no life in godless secularism.

  • Clive Sweeting

    I am surprised Erdogan has a hand in this. For information about Mar Gabriel, Andrew Palmer’s informative work ‘Monk and macon on the Tigris frontier’, Cambridge 1990 is recommended. Turkish membership of Nato in no way prevented the destruction of vast sectors of the Armenian Christian heritage and it was rumoured in Le Monde that the Turkish Army using Nato equipment played a role in this. Whether or not Turkey becomes a member of the EEC it is reasonable to assume that attacks on Christian churches will continue