. Simply click "Moriel Ministries" below to go back to the main site

Arrow up
Arrow down
 
 
 
Shoppers - Please note: Be sure to check your purchase and then fill in all your details correctly on the right-hand side, (name, address, city, state, zip etc.) and check our terms and accept them. it will greatly help us to get your order in a timely manner.
Tuesday, 01 June 2004 00:12

Turkish Church Given Deadline of 14 October

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Further to our previous Rapid Lobbying Action we have now heard that the Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk has now been given the deadline of 14 October to remove not only the superstructure (providing shade and shelter) which contravenes building regulations, but also the parapet around the roof, the solar power panel and the air-conditioning unit. Thus, not only will the roof (a valuable extra room) be too hot and unsafe to use, but the whole building will be rendered unusable without power and air-conditioning. In view of these developments we have taken the unusual step of contacting you a second time to ask if you can write to your MP, MEP and the Turkish Ambassador. We were very grateful for your letters to the mayor. If you are able to write again please act as soon as you can in order in order to prevent the council taking its threatened action against the church.

Urgent Action

Please send a letter, fax or e-mail to your MP, your MEP and the Turkish
Embassy. Many of you have already written to the local mayor, if not please write to him also. Ask them to ensure that:

  • The church is treated in the same way as everyone else and legislation will not be selectively imposed to target it. 2. That the local council immediately desist in any further action. 3. That local Christians will be able to continue to meet together peacefully for worship without such interference, just as Muslims are free to worship in mosques in the West.

Points to Remember in Letter Writing

  • Be polite and calm: facts and reasoned argument will be more effective than emotive phrases and pleas
  • Be clear and keep it simple: firstly identifying what the problem is
    (refer in full to the "Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk"), secondly stating what you would like to be done about it (adapt the above three points)
  • Be concise: your letter should certainly be no longer than one side at the very maximum

Please try and write a letter using your own words. A personal letter from
you will be much, much more effective than a standard one. If however you really feel you need a sample letter, one is available below.

Contact Details

Your MP
House of Commons
Westminster
LONDON
SW1A 0AA

Your MEP
Phone the UK Office of the European Parliament on 020 7227 4300 or check out http://www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm for the address of your local MEPs. Supporters from other EU countries please go to the European Parliament homepage at http://www.europarl.eu.int/

The Turkish Ambassador in the UK:
His Excellency Akin Alptuna
43 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PA
Fax: 020 7393 0066

Mr Huseyin Vefa Ulgur
Mayor
Belediye Baskani
Seljuk Belediyesi
35920 Seljuk - Izmir
TURKEY
Fax: 00 90 232 892 8284
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Background

The Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk is being threatened with being sealed and possibly demolished by the local council on the grounds that the corrugated roofing and metal poles of the superstructure on the roof contravene building regulations. The church has also been asked to pay a fine of $1,000. They have until 14 October to remove not only the offending structure, but also the parapet around the roof, the solar panel and the air-conditioning unit. This will effectively render the whole building unusable. Having a solar panel on the roof is the norm, not only in this area, but throughout the Middle East.

Five years ago the church applied for permission to make alterations to the building and for a "change of use". Permission was received from the local authorities but it was not until recently that they were informed that the structure on the roof was not in accordance with the permission granted. In Turkey planning permission is submitted to the authorities through an architect, and in accordance with normal procedure the owners of the church building did not see the final plans as they were submitted.

The Mayor of Seljuk has informed Barnabas Fund supporters that the permission was apparently for a structure that was "wooden with bricks". A partner of Barnabas Fund has spoken to the mayor's office and asked what the difference was between the present structure and the one for which permission was given; he also asked what alterations would be needed to bring the present structure in line to make it acceptable. On neither count was he given an answer. The Mayor also stated to supporters that the application should have been accompanied with the signed consent of the church's neighbours; however this requirement is only necessary where the property is part of an apartment block. The property in question stands alone and all three levels are owned by the church, therefore it does not need the permission of the neighbours. A different official informed the wife of the pastor of the church that the structure had been condemned because new regulations had just come into force. The mayor also claimed that other buildings have been sealed, but omitted to say that these were in an area outside Seljuk. There are over 50 buildings in the neighbourhood with similar constructions but none of them have been sealed.

The roof was sealed on 15 September when four men in uniform and one in civilian clothing arrived and demanded to enter the building without any official documentation. They attempted to prevent local Christians from taking photos or video recordings of what they were doing.

Although at least 20 buildings in the neighbourhood have a similar construction, only the church and one immediate neighbour were targeted by the council. The neighbour's roof access was also sealed on 15 September but recently local Christians have noticed them re-using their roof, which may indicate that the act of sealing it was a sham designed to show a false even handedness.

The chief civil engineer of Seljuk told church leaders that even if they were to demolish the structure, there were other issues which the council would then raise with them requiring the demolishing of other parts of the building.

The church leaders have discovered that a local person or group of people opposed to the Christian training activities which take place at the church has stirred up the hostility of the local council against them. They fear that the council intends eventually to demolish the whole church building, and are concerned that if the council are allowed to get away with the removal of the superstructure, this will be the thin end of the wedge.

If the church does not make a stand now the council could potentially use a myriad of bureaucratic laws to target the church on any other aspect of its buildings (even down to the colour or texture of the outside walls) until they achieve their aim of shutting it down completely. New churches in Turkey - i.e. ones without some kind of heritage value - are particularly vulnerable to this type of interference as they are not able to receive official registration. Thus churches such as the Ephesus Protestant Church
have the threat of legal action constantly hanging over them.

Church leaders have talked to the press in an attempt to raise a wider local outcry against the council's actions. When the local council realised this, a representative contacted one church leader by phone and tried to intimidate him to stop him talking to the media.

This harassment of Christian ministry in a country which is seeking to join the European Union raises serious questions. The Governor of Seljuk, to whom the Christian leaders appealed, has refused to help.

Pray

Please pray that the Seljuk authorities will cease their threats and harassment of the Ephesus Protestant Church and its training ministry.

Pray for courage and wisdom for the church leaders as they decide how to respond. They are concerned that their efforts to insist the church is treated fairly alongside every other local group could backfire and result
in their innocent neighbours with similar building construction also getting in trouble.

  • Pray that the building - from which the ruins of ancient Ephesus are visible - will be unsealed and that its worship and ministry can continue.
  • Pray that articles appearing in the media will put pressure on the local
    council to back down.
  • Pray that the Turkish government, which strongly desires to be allowed to join the European Union, will be motivated to enforce genuine full and permanent religious liberty in Turkey.

Sample Letters

(Your MP)
House of Commons
Westminster
LONDON
SW1A 0AA

Dear

The Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk

I am contacting you in order to bring to your attention a case of discrimination against a Christian church in Turkey.

The Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk is under threat of closure because the corrugated roofing and metal poles of a structure on the roof contravene building regulations. The roof of the church was sealed on 15 September and the church has also been fined $1,000. The church has now heard that they must, by 14 October, remove not only the offending structure, but also the parapet around the roof, the solar panel and the air-conditioning unit. This will effectively render the whole building unusable.

I understand that although at least 50 buildings in the neighbourhood have a similar construction, only the church's roof and that of the immediate neighbour were sealed by the council. Furthermore I am led to believe that the roof of the neighbouring building has subsequently been reopened. Other buildings have, in the past, been condemned for similar reasons, but none in Seljuk. The Mayor of Seljuk argues that the present structure contravenes planning permission given to the church in 1998, and that several verbal notifications have been served. However the church say that they have only recently made aware of a complaint specific to the superstructure.

This is not a case of simply applying building regulations. There is clear evidence that some members of the council do not want the church to exist. The chief civil engineer of Seljuk told church leaders that even if they were to demolish the structure, there were other issues which the council would then raise with them requiring the demolishing of other parts of the building.

I would like to strongly urge you to use your influence to intervene in the situation to ensure that:

1. The church is treated in the same way as all of its neighbours and legislation will not be selectively imposed upon it.

2. The local council immediately desist in any further action against the church and allow local Christians to meet together peacefully for worship without any further interference.

However I would be very grateful if you could raise this situation with the government to find out what action they are taking to enable the Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk to continue meeting together peacefully without any further harassment.

Thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,

(Your MEP - Phone the UK Office of the European Parliament on 020 7227 4300 or check out http://www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm for the address of your local MEPs. Supporters from other EU countries please go to the European Parliament homepage at http://www.europarl.eu.int/ )

Dear

The Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk

I am contacting you in order to bring to your attention a case of discrimination against a Christian church in Turkey.

The Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk is under threat of closure because the corrugated roofing and metal poles of a structure on the roof contravene building regulations. The roof of the church was sealed on 15 September and the church has also been fined $1,000. The church has now heard that they must, by 14 October, remove not only the offending structure, but also the parapet around the roof, the solar panel and the air-conditioning unit. This will effectively render the whole building unusable.

I understand that although at least 50 buildings in the neighbourhood have a similar construction, only the church's roof and that of the immediate neighbour were sealed by the council. Furthermore I am led to believe that the roof of the neighbouring building has subsequently been reopened. Other buildings have, in the past, been condemned for similar reasons, but none in Seljuk. A structure similar to the present one was already in place when the church bought the building in 1998. The Mayor of Seljuk argues that the present structure contravenes planning permission given to the church in 1998, and that several verbal notifications have been served. However the church say that they have only recently made aware of a complaint specific to the superstructure.

This is not a case of simply applying building regulations. There is clear evidence that some members of the council do not want the church to exist. The chief civil engineer of Seljuk told church leaders that even if they were to demolish the structure, there were other issues which the council would then raise with them requiring the demolishing of other parts of the building.

I would like to strongly urge you to use your influence to intervene in the situation to ensure that:

1. The church is treated in the same way as all of its neighbours and legislation will not be selectively imposed upon it.

2. The local council immediately desist in any further action against the church and allow local Christians to meet together peacefully for worship without any further interference.

I would be very grateful if you could raise this situation with the European Foreign Affairs Commissioner to find out what action they are taking to enable the Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk to continue meeting together peacefully without any further harassment.

Thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,

(The Turkish Ambassador in your country)

In the UK:

His Excellency Akin Alptuna
43 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PA

Your Excellency

Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk

I am writing to you because I am extremely concerned about the current situation regarding the Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk. I understand that the local council is threatening to close and seal the church on the grounds that the corrugated roofing and metal poles of a structure on the roof contravene building regulations. The roof of the church was sealed on 15 September and the church has also been fined $1,000. The church has now heard that they must, by 14 October, remove not only the offending structure, but also the parapet around the roof, the solar panel and the air-conditioning unit. This will effectively render the whole building unusable.

I understand that although at least 50 buildings in the neighbourhood have a similar construction, only the church's roof and that of the immediate neighbour were sealed by the council. Furthermore I am led to believe that the roof of the neighbouring building has subsequently been reopened. Other buildings have, in the past, been condemned for similar reasons, but none in Seljuk. The Mayor of Seljuk argues that the present structure contravenes planning permission given to the church in 1998, and that several verbal notifications have been served. However the church say that they have only recently made aware of a complaint specific to the superstructure.

This is not a case of simply applying building regulations. There is clear evidence that some members of the council do not want the church to exist. The chief civil engineer of Seljuk told church leaders that even if they were to demolish the structure, there were other issues which the council would then raise with them requiring the demolishing of other parts of the building.

I would like to strongly urge you to use your influence to intervene in the situation to ensure that:

1. The church is treated in the same way as all of its neighbours and legislation will not be selectively imposed upon it.

2. The local council immediately desist in any further action against the church and allow local Christians to meet together peacefully for worship without any further interference.

It seems very ironic that at a time when other European nations are making great efforts to guarantee the rights and freedom of worship of their Muslim citizens this kind of harassment can still be taking place against Christians in Turkey.

I know that Turkey is making great efforts to improve the human rights of all its citizens. I am sure that you are as committed to human rights as I am and share my concern about this situation affecting the Ephesus
Protestant Church at Seljuk. I am very grateful for anything you are able to do to improve this situation. Please send me a letter letting me know what action you are taking to enable the Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk to continue meeting together peacefully without any further harassment.

Thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,

Mayor Huseyin Vefa Ulgur
Belediye Baskani
Seljuk Belediyesi
35920 Seljuk - Izmir
TURKEY

Dear Mayor,

Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk

I am writing to you because I am extremely concerned about the current situation regarding the Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk. I understan that the local council is threatening to close and seal the church on the grounds that the corrugated roofing and metal poles of a structure on the roof contravene building regulations. The roof of the church was sealed on 15 September and the church has also been fined $1,000. The church has now heard that they must, by 14 October, remove not only the offending structure, but also the parapet around the roof, the solar panel and the air-conditioning unit. This will effectively render the whole building unusable.

I understand that although at least 50 buildings in the neighbourhood have a similar construction, only the church's roof and that of the immediate neighbour were sealed by the council. Furthermore I am led to believe that the roof of the neighbouring building has subsequently been reopened. Other buildings have, in the past, been condemned for similar reasons, but none in Seljuk.

I would like to strongly urge you to use your influence to intervene in the situation to ensure that:

1. The church is treated in the same way as all of its neighbours and legislation will not be selectively imposed upon it.

2. The local council immediately desist in any further action against the church and allow local Christians to meet together peacefully for worship without any further interference.

It seems very ironic that at a time when other European nations are making great efforts to guarantee the rights and freedom of worship of their Muslim citizens this kind of harassment can still be taking place against Christians in Turkey.

I know that Turkey is making great efforts to improve the human rights of all its citizens. I am sure that you are as committed to human rights as I am and share my concern about this situation affecting the Ephesus
Protestant Church at Seljuk. I am very grateful for anything you are able to do to improve this situation. Please send me a letter letting me know what action you are taking to enable the Ephesus Protestant Church at Seljuk to continue meeting together peacefully without any further harassment.

Thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,

Read 3567 times Last modified on Wednesday, 26 November 2008 05:31

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Newsletter signup
  1. Full Name(*)
    Please type your full name.
  2. E-mail(*)
    Invalid email address.
  3. Address(*)
    Invalid Input
  4. City(*)
    You have to enter a value for the City
  5. Province/County/State(*)
    Invalid Input
  6. Country(*)
    Invalid Input
  7. Post/Zip code(*)
    Invalid Input
  8. +4 US(*)
    Invalid Input
  9. Telephone
    Invalid Input
  10. Your closest Moriel Location(*)
    Invalid Input

Blog by Subject

Aberrational Theology Abuse Reports Alpha Course Announcements Antichrist antisemitism apologetics Archeology Australia Author backsliding Berit Kjos Bezaleel Bill Alnor Bill Randles Bill Walthall Brian Broderson Buddhism calvary chapel Calvin Smith Canada Catholicism Central and South America Charley Carle Christopher Fisher Church Issues Comforting Those Who Mourn D. E. Isom Dave Royle David Lister D E Isom dental mission Discernment doctrine Ecumenism Elon Morah Elon Moreh Emergent Church End Times End Times Archive eschatology europe Evangelism Evolution False Prophets feminism former gay germany Hare Krishna heresy Hinduism history hollywood information In the Land Islam Israel Israel Missions Items of Various Interest Jackie Alnor Jacob Prasch James Jacob Prasch Jan Markell Japan Jehovah's Witnesses jewhatred jezebel joyce meyer Kenya Missions last days Latest News luther Mexico Mike Gendron Mike Oppenheimer Missions Missions in Rome Moriel japan Mormonism Nessim Muse New Age New Apostolic Reformation News & Info New Zealand Persecution petition Philippine Garbage Dump Children Philip Powell pope Popular Teachers posttrib Prayer Request prayer requests pretrib prewrath pride Prophecy News Purpose Driven Question and Answer Quote of the Day rapture Render to Caesar Ruckmanism russia Sandy Simpsom Scott Noble seal sin South Africa South Africa Missions Steven Boot Tanzania Missions Teaching Testimonies testimony Thailand Toronto, Pensacola & Lakeland Toronto, Pensacola & Lakeland tribulation Uncategorized United Kingdom United States USA Missions Word Faith wrath yeshua

Filter and Search Articles

Articles of note

Random Product from the Webstore

Your Shopping cart

 x 

Cart empty

Holyland Design

If you, your church or your ministry need graphic design, we recommend Holyland Design (who built this site).

Holyland Design