The Association of Protestant Churches has released a report which reveals that hate speech, attacks and terrorist threats against Christians increased in Turkey in 2016, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, titled “Rights Violations Report 2016,” hate crimes against Christians in Turkey increased in 2016 and physical attacks against Protestants and their churches occurred, while churches faced terrorism threats.
The report said billboards, banners and booklets contained hate speech against Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, while videos showed street theaters where Santa Claus was threatened with a gun.
The report underlined that there was insufficient response from state authorities and the judiciary against the hate campaign against Christians that took place around New Year’s celebrations.
The association’s report expressed deep sadness about the portrayal of Bibles that were found in some terrorist cells as terrorist material as well as unhappiness with the relevant statements of officials and news stories in Turkey.
The report also pointed out an increase in hate speech against Christians and churches in the media and in publications that present churches and terrorist organizations together.
According to the report, people whose identity cards do not state their religion and Christian refugees are obliged to attend religion classes because of regulations requiring that only those whose identity cards give the name of their religion as Christianity or Judaism are exempt from religion classes.
The report also underlined that since Christian students have to leave during religion classes, they are put in the position of declaring their religion, which results in harassment by other students and invitations for converting to Islam.