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What Will Turkish President Erdogan’s New Powers Mean for Christians?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s major referendum victory last, which gave him sweeping new powers, has prompted concerns about what the future will hold for persecuted Christians and other minorities there.

Burak Bekdil, an Ankara-based columnist who has has been writing on the developments in Turkey for the Gatestone Institute, an international policy council and think tank, told The Christian Post in an interview on Thursday that Erdogan has capitalized on a “Crescent vs. Crusaders theme” that made him popular among the country’s conservative and nationalist masses.

“This collective hysteria fuels xenophobia that is already a powerful phenomenon in Turkey. Non-Muslims, often targets by nationalist/Islamist groups, will now have reason to worry more,” Bekdil told CP.

He suggested that life will be more difficult for anyone in Turkey who dissents against the president, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

“Non-Muslims by definition fall into the ‘hate category’ in a society that is drifting farther and farther away from Europe’s democratic culture,” Bekdil said.

“The real danger for the minorities is, perhaps, not directly radical Islam in Turkey but rather various means of state-sponsored discrimination and a dominant thinking in favor of majoritarian politics.”

Erdogan, who will now be head of the ruling party, the state and government all at the same time, saw 51.4 percent of Turkish people who voted on April 16 back the constitutional changes.

In an interview with CNN last week he denied that he was moving the country toward a dictatorship, however.

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