During the last week of August, two Protestant churches in Turkey — one in the Mediterranean city of Antalya and the other in Istanbul — received emails with a message that read, “You apostate, perverted infidels, you’ve rejected the truth despite the laws of Allah and chosen the path of infidelity. You’ve not only put faith in idolatry, but you’ve dragged along others with you. For a long time, we waited for you to return to the true religion. You [only] increased your perversion and fooled other ignorant people. Be assured that Allah will deliver your heads in our hands. Neither Europe, on which you so much rely, nor Jesus, whom you ascribe as an equal to Allah, will be able to save you. Allah will not forgive the perverts who strayed from the path of Allah.” The message concluded by saying that Christians would be caught and killed wherever they are found.
Churches in Turkey are accustomed to threats. In 2014, the country’s small Protestant community reported 10 incidents of threats and assaults against its authorities, including a threatening letter left at the door of Istanbul’s Yeni Umut Church while church members gathered inside and the breaking of windows and then torching of the Kadikoy International Church, also in Istanbul. Many other threats and incidents of assault are believed to have gone unreported to the police.