Today should see the start of the trial of Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish writer accused of insulting his nation. His crime? To remind his country that a million Armenians were killed by the Ottman Empire less than a century ago, a fact that few outside Turkey dispute.
Pamuk is not a Christian, but the case highlights the ongoing human rights issues in the country. It is not just writers and academics that are facing state-sponsored persecution, many Christians face persecution, and some are in jail. All this in a country that is seeking to apply for membership into the European Union.
EU membership (if it comes) would probably be a good thing for Turkish Christians. It is difficult to imagine the European Commission tolerating political or religious prisoners. It could even be a good thing for British Christians. Perhaps a religous country within the union would slow down the rampant secularism that all too apparent. Personally, I find it hard to believe that Islam is more dangerous than secularism, particularly when the church has become so much like the world in secularist countries, but much less so in Muslim ones.
It’s an interesting to think that could Christians in the UK could be linking up with Muslims in Turkey to combat anti-Christian legislation in Brussels. It is, however, a long way off. And before we start joining forces, Turkish persecution of Christians must stop. If anything, that seems even further away – though we also said that about persecution in East Germany in 1988, didn’t we?