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Iraq: Turkish military incursion causes 2,000 Christian families to evacuate, 22 churches to close

Persecution of Christians in Iraq: Clearly the Turkish government is using its military actions against the Kurds to further its longstanding persecution of Christians. These actions, which have displaced 2,000 Christian families, are in keeping with its clear contempt for Christians and Christianity, as well as for Turkey’s rich Orthodox Christian heritage. These forced evacuations stem from the same beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions that gave rise to the appropriation of Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora as mosques, the ongoing discrimination against of and harassment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the remaining Christians of Turkey; the occupation and ethnic cleansing of northern Cyprus; the numerous restrictions placed upon the activities and rights of Christian and other religious minority groups; and much more.

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, once again appeals to the United Nations and all nations that are concerned about human rights to do all they can to protect the Christians of Syria and the Middle East in general, and to do all they can to bring an end to the unjust and illegal actions of the Turkish government.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Iraq, click here.

“Turkish military incursion preventing Iraqi Christians from returning to villages – report,” Ahval News, September 1, 2020:

Turkey’s Claw Tiger operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in northern Iraq has caused the evacuation of several Christian villages in the Dohuk province, making it impossible for the villagers to return to their homes, pro-Kurdish outlet Rudaw reported on Tuesday.

One of the villages, Şeraniş, has been targeted in several bombings during Turkey’s operation, and has been evacuated, it said.

Villager Emir Hasan told Rudaw that bombs targeted both the surroundings and the inner parts of the village, damaging both houses and orchards.

Ten out of the 25 Christian villages in Dohuk, most of them at the Turkish border, had been evacuated before due to clashes, according to Rudaw. Six more villages have since been cleared of residents.

Some 2,000 Christian families are affected by the operation, and 22 churches have had to close their doors to worshippers.

The cross-border ground assault Operation Claw Tiger started on June 17, and has extended beyond Turkey’s usual campaign grounds against the PKK, according to Reuters.

The PKK is an armed group that has been at war for Kurdish self rule in Turkey for over three decades….

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