Confidential documents obtained by the Nordic Monitor, an NGO which monitors radical extremist trends, show that Turkey’s National Security Council (MEK) had created a plan to fabricate a threat posed by Christians as part of social engineering, Nordic Monitor reports.
The documents show that the legal activities of Christians, including Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants, are viewed as a security threat to the “sustainability and viability of the Turkish state.” Although the documents identify only 54 Christian missionaries as active in Turkey, 45 of whom are foreign nationals, even that low figure stands in sharp contrast to the threat assessment made by the MGK, which bolsters the view that the top security agency, dominated by neo-nationalists, deliberately exaggerated the threat, if any, and presented what appears to be peaceful, faith-based work as nefarious activities.
The documents confirm that the Turkish state profiled dozens of Christian groups in Turkey and abroad, proposed controversial measures to halt their work and instructed all government agencies including the military, police and intelligence to monitor and thwart their projects.
What is more, the Turkish judge who reviewed the documents and summarized what was devised by the MGK as part of the criminal investigation into suspects who were involved in crafting the secret policy that led to murders and attacks on Christians in Turkey was arbitrarily dismissed and later arrested by the Islamist government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The assessment indicated that Christian missionary activities have been expanding across the country, exploiting the freedoms in national and international laws, and have reached a level that posed a threat to Turkish national interests. The MGK concluded that Christian activities present a long-term threat to Turkey’s national security and emphasized that Turkey cannot stand by idly while such activities pose serious challenges for Turkey.
Turkey’s top security agency also claimed that Christians selected Kurds, Alevis and minorities as well as conservative groups, women, students, and youth among Turks as targets.
In a shocking description, the MGK describes the European Union as an entity that wants to extend its borders from the Atlantic to the Urals and therefore wants to use Turkey, a “biblical land,” as a gateway to Central Asia. It claims that Christian Europe wants to revitalize Byzantine Empire and resurrect the sacred lands in Anatolia where many Christian symbols and saints were historically located.
It said the new legislation that was proposed to comply with the European Union acquis as part of Turkish membership talks could create problems for Turkey. As a result, it proposed measures to thwart such activities. The 12-page document was later sent to the relevant government agencies by Gen. Kılınç, a neo-nationalist and racist figure.
The criminal case against key suspects who were involved in the illegal operations as part of the MGK plan was crushed by the government, while investigators who exposed these clandestine operations including the murder of Christian missionaries were punished with unlawful dismissals and imprisonment as part of the crackdown on the Gülen movement, the most outspoken opposition group critical of the Erdoğan government.
Turkey has increased the persecution of Christians following the failed coup attempt in 2016. Although the constitution says that the country is secular, it also protects the concept of Turkishness, which says that all true Turks are Muslim. As a result, Turkey’s history shows oscillation between the extremes of secularism and Islamism, both of which create serious challenges for Christians. The failed coup attempt three years ago marked a more intense swing towards Islamic nationalism.