Turkey’s Christian history dates to the first century. Antioch was the place where the followers of Jesus were called "Christians" for the first time in history, as well as being the site of one of the earliest and oldest surviving churches, established by the apostle Peter. For a thousand years, the Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world. The percentage of Christians in Turkey fell from 19% (or according to some estimates as high as 25%) of the population of 16 million, to around 2.5 percent in 1927, largely due to the Armenian Genocide and the population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Today there are approximately 250,000 people of different Christian denominations and communities, representing less than 0.4% of Turkey's population.
Per the 1982 constitution, the state has pervasive control over religion and denies full legal status to all religious communities. All religious communities in Turkey face restrictions on their rights to own and maintain property, to train clergy, and to offer religious education because of the Turkish model of secularism which requires the absence of religion from public life. Minor successes to expand property rights and religious dress have been achieved under the new constitution but were subsequently eroded. This suggests that the lack of progress on longstanding restrictions on Christians is due to an absence of political and cultural will, rather than merely structural impediments.