Turkish Teachers Association Takes Aim at Christmas

12/25/2018 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – According to the Turkish Minute, the country’s Association of Conscientious Teachers released a statement on Christmas Eve saying that the promotion of Santa Claus and the New Year is not part of Turkish culture and should not be encouraged. The Turkish Minute notes that many Turks perceive both as symbols of Christianity. The association’s statement says that these “play with the history and culture of society.”

According to the 2017 Human Rights Violations Report compiled by Turkey’s Association of Protestant Churches, hate speech against Christians has generally intensified but is particularly noticeable during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. These hate speech campaigns have created much apprehension among the local Christian community.

Technically, Turkey’s constitution makes the country a secular nation. However, the concept that all Turks are Muslim is heavily engrained within the society. Under President Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey has become increasingly Islamist.

In recent years, President Erdogan has particularly focused on transforming schools so that they become religious Imam Hatip schools. The Christmas Eve statement by the Association of Conscientious Teachers is concerning as it encourages the ostracization of and aggression towards Christians. Although Turkey is widely recognized now as Islamic, the country has a rich Christian history. Much of the New Testament occurred in modern day Turkey.

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