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International Christian Concern: ‘Turkey Has Been Slowly Suffocating Its Christian Community’

Persecution of Christians in Turkey: During the recent conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), “Turkey and Azerbaijan destroyed churches and other religious sites.” In this we saw yet again the contempt for the Christian history and heritage of Asia Minor that was manifested in the Turkish government’s conversion last year of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of the Holy Savior in Chora to mosques. The general contempt for Christianity and Christians is also manifested in the ongoing denial of property rights and legal identity to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The article below describes the Turkish governments efforts toward the “suffocation” of the Armenian Christianity community; the same applies to the Greek Christian community as well.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

For the ICC report, “The Anatomy of Genocide,” see here.

“Turkey Has Been Slowly Suffocating Its Christian Community,” International Christian Concern, January 25, 2021:

01/25/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In 1915, Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) slaughtered over one million Armenian Christians in what is now known as the Armenian genocide. Turkey is still oppressing Armenians living in the country today.

ICC recently released a report on the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (known as the Republic of Artsakh in Armenia), in late 2020. Turkey and Azerbaijan destroyed churches and other religious sites, abused prisoners of war and hired known extremists, including members of the Islamic State, as mercenaries to help regain control over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Videos have surfaced showing Azeri soldiers beating and humiliating defenseless Armenian POWs. Azerbaijan refuses to disclose the identities of the prisoners, as well as the exact number of POWs it still holds. Dozens of Armenians still do not know the whereabouts of their family members who went off to fight in the war. If you would like to sign our petition calling on the European Court of Human Rights to investigate Azerbaijan’s treatment of its POWs and release their identities, click here.


In 1915, Turkey (The Ottoman Empire) slaughtered over one million Armenian Christians in what is now known as the Armenian Genocide. Turkey is still oppressing Armenians living in the country today.

Hagia Sophia, which was once an iconic cathedral in Istanbul, has once again been converted into a mosque.

Jeff King: If you had to sum up Turkey’s dealings with Armenia over time… I just look at it, I see different notes. There’s Islamic persecution, there’s Dhimmitude, there’s control. Basically slow and fast strangulation of a Christian nation. Does that sum it up or anything else you want to add to that?

Claire Evans: I think that’s exactly how the Church describes it, is suffocation. It’s something where within the country, Turkey has been slowly suffocating its Christian community since the genocide and denying every attempt to shine light on that throughout the entire time. But then we look at what they’re doing in places like Artsakh where it’s very obvious that they’re being aggressive and human rights abuses and violations, and they’re doing that all openly. So I often think if that’s what they’re doing openly, when they think and nobody’s watching, what are they doing in their own country where everything’s controlled and limited and nobody can see it? It’s sending a message. There’s still a few Armenians who live in Turkey and they were heavily, heavily abused, just verbally and harassed and threatened-

Jeff King: In this recent period or this conflict?

Claire Evans: Yeah. Not just in Turkey, worldwide. The Armenian community found themselves targeted by Turks who were living in the diaspora. That’s scary. If that’s what’s happening in other countries, countries where you’re supposed to be more free or countries that nobody’s paying attention to, then it’s got to be worse in the country who restricts all free speech…..

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