01/09/2022 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – A Turkish-Armenian outspoken blogger, Sevan Nisanyan, is facing deportation from Greece after fleeing from a Turkish prison to the island country in 2017. Greece did not extend Nisanyan’s residency permit, although he has since married a Greek woman. His permit expired on December 29 and he was subsequently arrested on December 30.
Nisanyan now faces potential deportation to Turkey, although Greek courts usually refuse to extradite people to Turkey who say they would face persecution. Nisanyan began a 17-year prison sentence in 2014 for illegal construction. He claims the charges were a result of his activism against freedom of expression restrictions and the Armenian Genocide, both of which Turkey denies. He also was convicted of blasphemy in Turkey regarding a 2012 blog post that defended an anti-Islam film. The Armenian Embassy in Greece is assisting with supporting and resolving Nisanyan’s case.
Christianity is often viewed as a foreign and western ideology and therefore a threat to the established “Turkishness” that the country boasts of and pursues. Armenians, as a historically Christian people, are included in the perceived threat to the country.
And yet, there are Turks who still convert to Christianity. One Turkish citizen, who was baptized on Epiphany, said, “I felt this faith closer to me. I decided to choose a religion because it is a religion, compatible with the soil of this place and because this faith has a very deep-rooted history.”