International Christian Concern, December 7, 2020
Of 10 young Christian students interviewed about their experiences in school, 6 said that nothing was taught about Christian theology and 4 said that hearsay is taught about Christian theology. The Christian history of Turkey is ignored, and historic persecution of Christians is reframed as defending Turkey … birthing a type of nationalism hostile towards anything associated with Christianity.
One student said, “I became a Christian and immediately felt like I betrayed my country. During the independent war, we fought against lots of countries and some bishops blessed the Turks’ enemies. That’s why people started to hate Christianity and Christians and believe that if you aren’t Muslim, you’re an enemy. When you ask people’s religion here, some people will say I’m a Turk. Because people believe that if you’re a Turk, then you have to be Muslim.”
Ayse is an 18-year-old student living in eastern Turkey. She says that her teachers “told me that I should not raise the subject of my faith in school and share my identity with anyone. The threats are disciplinary punishments that I will not deserve, like throwing me out of school. There are teachers who turn Christianity into hate speech. They say Christianity is a changed, distorted religion, a belief where human killing is without consequence.”