Hi Senem It’s great to meet you online I trust this topic is not too sensitive for this forum. I understand that there are refugee camps in Turkey, that are holding Christians and Christian families who have proclaimed their faith in their own countries, sometimes for years without them knowing if they will ever be released. Can you give me insight into these camps (how many). Are the refugees treated well? Are there any talks of these camps being disbanded? I appreciate your time in responding, if you’re able. God bless!
Hello Gayle, it’s good to meet you online as well!
Thanks for asking your question. It reveals that you carry a burden for them, which is beautiful. This is a topic that is very close to my heart as well. Since the Syrian refugee crisis started, Turkey has been home to around 3,2 million refugees scattered around the country, mainly in big cities.
At our local church, we have been serving them in different capacities and meeting them where they are. We are so grateful to the Lord for this opportunity. Many other Turkish churches and traditional denominations have also been involved in mercy ministries towards the refugees and count it a privilege to join in their troubles. We have grown closer to Jesus as we walked along side them.
I can say that I have not heard of any ‘holding’ of Christian refugees by the local authorities against their will. The camps are for them to take refuge and functioned as their temporary homes. There are thousands of them who choose not to stay at camps and try to build life from scratch in a place where they can’t even speak the language of. Another thing to note is Turkey does not grant ‘asylum’ status, therefore the refugees can only be issued a ‘residency permit’ and can be stuck here for a long time.
When it comes to being treated well, I can say that they all suffer at different levels. The traumatic event of leaving your home and being forced to migrate is not something easy to put behind. As much as the governmental and civil support structures are involved, there are still cases which breaks our hearts. It boils down to the human condition that we as humans are very harmful to one another.
The church’s response has been overwhelmingly gracious towards the refugees in our country. Some of the Christian refugees even have their own worship services in Arabic and share the local church buildings for their gatherings.
Please continue to be in prayer for them. If you’d like to learn further about which Christian NGOs are involved in the relief work, do let me know. I’d be happy to send you those.
God bless you, too!