The Church of St George in Istanbul is the principle Greek Orthodox cathedral – making it one of the most important churches in Christianity.
It continues to be used by Christians in Turkey, but how do they feel about living in a country where up to 99 percent of the population identify themselves as Muslims?
“Now it’s okay. During our fathers’ and grandfathers’ generations, it was hard. Times have changed and we’re more free. Our children can go to school more easily. We don’t have any problems,” cafe owner Yani Stavridis told euronews.
However, not everyone feels that discrimination is a thing of the past.
Jeweller Ohannes Kurtlukaya described his experiences of being a Christian in Turkey.
“Sometimes we feel there are difficulties. Most of the time you are like a second-class person. For instance, if you’re name is Ohannes, not Ahmet or Mehmet, there is a difference in how you are treated. But everything is much better than it was in the past when it was harder,” he said.
Despite the overwhelming Muslim majority in what is officially a secular state, the history of Christianity will forever be tied to Turkey.