United Press International
January 23, 2004 Friday 13:45 PM Eastern Time
ISTANBUL, Turkey (UPI)
Some 35,000 Turks converted from Islam to Christianity last year,with most joining evangelical congregations the newspaper, “Milliet,”
If true, this would amount to a mass movement, considering Christians make up only 0.2 percent of Turkey’s 68 million population.
“This is news to me,” said the Rev. Holger Nollmann, the German Protestant pastor in Istanbul.
However, Ihsan Ozbek, president of the Council of Independent Protestant congregations, said more and more Turks were turning toward Christianity.
“However, given the Islamic environment in which we live, most Turks coming to our congregations do not wish to make waves.”
The German protestant news service Idea reported most converts are descendants of Orthodox Christians who ostensibly became Muslims to avoid being killed in Turkey’s 1914-22 genocide of its Armenian minority.