Hate speech fuels violence vs. Turkish non-Muslims

A new report analysing freedom of religion or belief in Turkey faults both strong nationalism and the Erdogan government’s public endorsement of a Sunni Muslim identity for rising levels of hate speech against the nation’s religious minorities. According to studies cited in the April report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, “religious . . . Read More

Turkey seizes six churches as state property in volatile southeast

Turkey seizes six churches as state property in volatile southeast
The 1,700-year-old Virgin Mary Syriac Orthodox Church in Diyarbakir was one of the churches seized.World Watch Monitor   After 10 months of urban conflict in Turkey’s war-torn southeast, the government has expropriated huge sections of property, apparently to rebuild and restore the historical centre of the region’s largest city, Diyarbakir. . . . Read More

Overcoming a century of pain

Overcoming a century of pain
Turkish and Armenian Christians circle the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia, on April 11. NOTE: faces have been blurred to protect identities.Ricardo Pessoa   “We came to share your pain,” Turkish Christians declared in early April, standing before TV cameras at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan. “We have . . . Read More

Syriac priest wrestles with Turkey’s ethnic tensions

Syriac priest wrestles with Turkey’s ethnic tensions
In the courtyard of the 1,700-year-old church over which he presides, Fr. Yusuf Akbulut beams with pride. He points out that the excellent stone and woodwork is a result of the craftsmanship of his ethnic group, the Syriac Christians of Turkey. “The Syriacs were always the goldsmiths, metal workers, stone . . . Read More

Assyrian Christians flee jihadists to southeast Turkey

Assyrian Christians flee jihadists to southeast Turkey
A harsh Islamic State offensive begun in late February against Syria’s dwindling Assyrian Christian population is accelerating a steady trickle of Christian refugees trying desperately to reach safety in Turkey, northern Iraq and Lebanon. But their future is far from guaranteed as refugees in Muslim-majority Turkey, where according to Turkish . . . Read More

Iranian pastor released from prison but others arrested same day remain

Iranian pastor released from prison but others arrested same day remain
After spending more than one year in prison, for ‘collusion against the [Iranian] government’ and ‘evangelism,’ Iranian pastor Rasoul Abdollahi has been released from prison. Abdollahi, a leader in Iran’s house church movement, was arrested Dec. 26 2010 and released last week, Feb. 16. His arrest was the same day . . . Read More

Christmas arrests in Iran: 11 still detained

Christmas arrests in Iran: 11 still detained
As the US Secretary of State meets his Iranian counterpart in a bid to revive stalled talks over Iran’s nuclear programme, human rights experts are keen that issues of freedom of religion are not overlooked. This week, the UK Foreign Office has said that it’s raised its concern with the . . . Read More