Religious freedom remains a concern in Turkey after Erdogan's re-election

(Photo: Unsplash/Meg Jerrard)

Christians in Turkey are not expecting the religious freedom situation in the country to improve any time soon after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's re-election last week. 

Open Doors' persecution analyst, Michael Bosch, said that Christians and other religious minorities have been marginalised in the public sphere because of Erdogan's increasing religious nationalism. 

He believes this situation is unlikely to change under another five years of his rule. 

"Turkish Christians respect the Turkish government and obey Turkish law. However, the strong religious-nationalist narrative Erdogan promotes, does not leave much space for religious minorities to have a voice or play a public role and voice," he said. 

According to Open Doors, freedoms across the board have deteriorated since Erdogan formed a coalition with the ultranationalist 'Nationalist Movement Party' in 2015, followed by a failed coup in 2016. 

Turkey's decision to ban mostly Western Christians has also adversely affected the Protestant Christian community.

Protestant churches are not recognised as 'religious congregations', which has made it difficult for them to rent property or open bank accounts.

Bosch continued, "In Erdogan's nationalist narrative a real Turk is Sunni Muslim.

"So, if you are a Kurd, an Armenian or a Syriac, you will be viewed with suspicion at best.

"If you are an ethnic Turk who converted to Christianity, you equally will face societal opposition."