Turkey: Gov't seizes six church buildings

Thursday, April 21, 2016

By Joseph DeCaro

(Worthy News) - The Turkish government has seized control of six church buildings in the country's Diyarbakir region.

According to Barnabas Aid, the structures include a 1,700-year-old building that predates Islam and the 400-year-old Surp Giragos -- the largest Armenian church in the Middle East.

The confiscations are part of a wider pattern of property seizures that might to be linked to the government's war on Kurdish separatists. But most Christians are Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Turks.

Diyarbakir once had a large Christian community, but it was nearly annihilated by Turkey a century ago. The Christians who remain include descendants of those who survived their government's genocide.

The government claimed its church confiscations were not unfair since Turkey had also taken control of all local mosques such as Kursunlu Mosque, which was originally an Armenian church.