top of page

Visit to Ankara Protestant Church Pastor İhsan Özbek

Last week, we visited Ankara Protestant Church on behalf of our Foundation. This visit was an important step towards better understanding the religious diversity in Turkey and the problems faced by minority belief groups.

Our meeting with Pastor İhsan Özbek gave us a deep understanding of the challenges faced by the Protestant community in Turkey and the way they live their faith. Especially since they could not gain legal personality, they chose to establish a company on religious tourism to carry out their religious rituals. This situation reveals some of the fundamental problems experienced in the context of religious freedom in Turkey.

Pastor Özbek's sharing that those who died in the Malatya Zirve Publishing House attack were from the same community reminded us that religious-based violence is still a serious problem. The pastor expressed their desire to share and keep their faith alive by saying, "Just as Muslims say 'Know the Faith,' we act as missionaries to spread our faith."

During our visit, Mazlumder's Ethnic Discrimination Report in Turkey was also brought to the agenda. The fact that Pastor Özbek lives under state protection and is constantly guarded by the police reflects the security concerns of religious minorities in the country.

In addition, thought-provoking comments were made on the similarities of the discrimination situations faced by LGBTI+ individuals and Christians. Problems such as not being able to open places of worship and being sued for praying in their associations show the obstacles to religious freedom. The Protestant community, which also faces serious difficulties in the field of education, drew attention to the fact that their wishes to open Bible courses were blocked and their children were offended due to compulsory religious education in schools.

Our Foundation President Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu's telling of the story of solidarity after the molotov cocktail attack on the Izmit Protestant Church was a good example of how strong bonds can be established between different faith groups. Underlining his stance against all kinds of violence and discrimination as a human rights defender, Gergerlioğlu showed that this solidarity and a society where people of different beliefs and ethnic origins can live together are possible.

This visit reinforced our commitment, as CONSCIENCE FOUNDATION, to stand against all kinds of discrimination and violence and to be in solidarity with different faith groups. Showing sensitivity to the problems of different religious and belief groups and making their voices heard is an important part of contributing to social peace and tolerance. We will continue to listen to everyone's story, understand them and make their voices heard on this journey.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page