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Pope Francis

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Helping Christians in one of Christianity's most historically rich nations

2015-03-15

Present-day Turkey is rich in Christian history. Saint Paul was born there. The word "christian” was first used in Turkey. Many other holy sites and shrines are located within its borders.

But the Christian population has dwindled over time. Today, about 99 percent of Turkey is Muslim, and just 0.2 percent of Turks identify as Christian. While Turkey's constitution allows for freedom of religion, Christians often struggle for rights in the country.

ROGER KISKA
Senior Counsel, ADF International
"The government there refuses to allow Christians to have legal personality there, to own property which would be used for religious purpose, or to even form an association.”

Roger Kiska is an attorney with ADF International, an organization that protects Christian rights throughout the world. They're currently involved in legal action to help Christians in Turkey.

ROGER KISKA
Senior Counsel, ADF International
"We're involved in a case with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of a Church, saying that the prohibition on building churches and having legal personality for Christian denominations is against European law.”

While no legal outcome is certain, Kiska said he is optimistic about the case. The Turkish government has sought to settle the case, but they plan to see it through. He added that he believes it could help to simplify the lives of Christians throughout Turkey.


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