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Turkey: Murder of Greek Christian Deemed Not A Hate Crime

The fact that the torture and murder of Zafir Pinaris was not classified as a hate crime is yet another manifestation of the Turkish government’s stance toward the remaining Christians of Asia Minor, and contempt for the Christian history and heritage of the land. We have seen that contempt manifested often over the last few years, particularly in the conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora to mosques, and in the ongoing denial of property rights and legal identity to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

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

“Murder of Turkish Greek Man Deemed Not a Hate Crime,” International Christian Concern, June 22, 2021:

06/22/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – In May 2019, 86-year-old Greek Christian and citizen of Turkey Zafir Pinaris, was found tortured to death in his home on the island of Imbros (Gökçeada). The courts recently ruled that his torture was not considered a hate crime, and the courts also did not allow Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD) to participate in the case.

Three suspects were arrested, though one died shortly after being imprisoned. The remaining two, Mete Sari and Kadir Arslan, both received 15 years for looting, though only Arslan received a life sentence for premeditated murder….

IHD lawyer Inci Incesağır commented on the case’s status as a hate crime saying, “There is an understanding [in Turkey] that ‘If one is Greek, one is definitely very rich and his/her money should belong to “us,” not to the Greek.’ Therefore, we think that this should be considered as a hate murder, but our request for intervention was rejected [by the court].”

The island of Imbros was cleansed ethnically cleansed by Turkish authorities and was a demographically Greek island until pressures mounted against local Christians in the 1960s.

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