Pope Visits Turkey Causes Tension in Christian Community

Pope Visits Turkey Causes Tension in Christian Community
Pope Francis is going to visit Turkey this week, but the tension is somewhat high. As Turkey came out of the Ottoman Empire in 1453, there a decline in Christians, during that time it had fallen from 20%. Now in present day Turkey there is around 0.2% Christians, around 99% Muslim. The Christian heritage is almost completely gone in Turkey. The famous structure Hagia Sophia, which was originally a church, now has become a mosque; it is now a museum. There was a “population exchange” with Greece, after the Turkish Republic was born, in order to create more ethnic and religious consistency. During this population exchange around 300, 000 Muslims were relocated from Greece to Turkey. The exchange resulted in an ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims, and the Greek community was left in tatters. It wasn’t just the Greek; hundreds of thousands of Armenians in large Christian community were deported in 1915. Many Armenians were in fear of expressing their religious identity in Turkey. A man, Mr. Erdogan, have been supporting Christians and helped allow Christian religious classes in schools again; but he is also stresses his Islamic identity while doing so. But because of conservative Muslims, the mood had hardened. There has been a spate of murders of Catholic missionaries and priests, and Christianity is falling silent among the Turkish community. As Turkey is building its identity there is a question that will remain, can it accept religious freedom? Or will nationalism be in the way?
I think this relates a lot to our class because of how much it talks about different worldviews. About how the Turkish community sees their religion, and how they cannot accept other religions except for Islam. Many other countries can accept the fact that every individual believes in different religions. It saddens me seeing that Christians are looked down upon because of the nationalism of Muslims. Living in Canada, many of us don’t realize how lucky we are. That we living in a multicultural society and we can accept so many different cultures and beliefs. Most of us forget about it, and take it for granted. I hope nothing will happen to the Pope because of what happened in the past. Whatever happened in the past is in the past and we can’t really change it anymore but improve instead. Killing missionaries is not going to help stop Christianity and I think it is wrong to just kill people for what they believe in. I hope one day Turkey can accept religious freedom.
M.Z #200


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