Anti-Christian Rhetoric Norm of Istanbul Election

06/12/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Istanbul is bracing itself for the mayoral race redo scheduled on June 23rd. Opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu had won the race this past March, which was widely considered an embarrassment for President Erdoğan’s AK Party. The AK Party has significantly increased its anti-Christian rhetoric in the lead up to the new vote as part of its campaign strategy.

The most common anti-Christian tactic used by the AK Party is to spread propaganda calling İmamoğlu a Greek Christian. This strategy touches on two narratives. First, it reinforces the cultural assumption that all Christians are foreigners and belong to countries who historically have had difficult relations with Turkey. Second, it reinforces the belief that true Turks are Muslims. It is worth noting that İmamoğlu is neither Greek nor Christian.

It is also important to recall Turkey’s long history of genocide against Greek Christians. The genocide has never been recognized under Erdoğan, who instead is constantly finding new ways to justify Turkey’s murder of up to 750,000 Greek Christians.

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