Guess what country is more Muslim than Iran
The BBC reports that the Christian population of Turkey has declined
from 20% to 0.2% in the last 100 years. No, that's not a typo. And it's not an accident either.
"No country in the region - including Iran - is as homogenous in terms
of Islam as Turkey," says writer Cengiz Aktar. "It's a mono-colour
country - it's a Muslim country."
After the Turkish Republic was born in 1923, it carried out a
"population exchange" with Greece to create more ethnic and religious
consistency. More than a million Greeks were forced out of Turkey to
Greece while around 300,000 Muslims from Greece were relocated here.
The Greeks of Istanbul were initially saved but after a
crippling wealth tax, anti-Greek pogroms in 1955 and mass expulsions in
1964, the Greek community was left in tatters. And so was the Orthodox
Christianity they practised.
"The ethnic cleansing of these non-Muslim minorities was a huge
brain drain," says Mr Aktar, who has created a new exhibition on the
loss of the Greeks here.
"It also meant the disappearance of the bourgeoisie because
not only were they wealthy but they were artisans. Istanbul lost its
entire Christian and Jewish heritage."
It was not just the exodus of the Greeks that hit Christianity here.
Armenians were the other large Christian community. Hundreds
of thousands were deported in 1915. They were either killed or died from
starvation and disease. The label "genocide" is rejected by the Turkish
state. From a population of two million Armenians, around 50,000 remain
"Most of the believers hide their cross inside their shirt. They
can't open it and walk freely on the street because they could prompt a
reaction. I don't want to say all the Turkish population is against
Christianity but nationalism is so high that people are afraid to
That is now the worry among the Christian minority here: that
Turkish Muslim nationalism has grown under the Islamist-rooted
government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister for 11 years before
being elected president last August.
And they call us 'racists'? Read the whole thing
Labels: Christians, Turkey, Turkish Islamization