TURKEY – Turkey systematically discriminating against Christians, Carnegie fellow says

Ahval | June 24, 2020

The future of Christians in Turkey is under threat due to continuing persecution and growing intolerance triggered by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s policies, wrote Alexander Görlach, senior fellow with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, on Tuesday. 

“While the world is busy fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with mass unemployment and a global recession, the Turkish government is taking advantage of the situation to further pressure minorities,” Görlach said in an article penned for Deutsche Welle.

The marginalisation of Turkey’s Christians grows apace as Erdoğan is adopting a mixture of Ottomanism and Islamist policies, and trying to scapegoat religious minorities for the failures in Syria and Libya, he said.

Expropriation of lands and destruction of churches of Assyrian Christians, one of the oldest Christian communities, and persecution of Syriac priest Sefer Bileçen, who faces terrorism charges for sharing food with a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), are recent examples of the rights violations some of Turkey’s religious minorities are facing.

“The fate of Sefer Bilecen, who is still waiting for his verdict, mirrors that of a minority whose future in their homeland is anything but certain,” Görlach said.