Iraqi Kurdistan: Christians hit by Turkish raids, at least 25 Christian villages emptied of people this year alone

September 16, 2020

Persecution of Christians in Iraq: it has become increasingly clear that the Turkish government is furthering its longstanding persecution of Christians by means of its military actions against the Kurds. These actions, which have displaced 2,000 Christian families and emptied 25 Christian villages this year alone, 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 Monastery 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.

“Kurdistan, Christian villages hit by Turkish raids against the PKK (VIDEO),” Asia News, September 15, 2020:

Erbil (AsiaNews) – Fear is growing among the inhabitants, including Christians, of Iraqi Kurdistan along the border with Turkey, the scene of heavy attacks by Ankara’s air force against targets of the PKK (the Kurdish Workers’ Party) refugees in the villages of the province north of Duhok. Fr. Samir Youssef, pastor of the diocese of Amadiya says “for months they have bombed our mountains to kill PKK members or attack the Kurds, regardless of whether they carry weapons, food or anything else ”.

The parish priest of Enishke sys [sic] the violence has intensified in the last period, as evidenced by the video and the photos published: “In the last month – he explains – they have killed a lot of people, just because they were close to areas controlled by the PKK . In some cases, the bombings also hit the homes of the civilian population ”. Last week, the priest stresses, “they hit a car carrying aid near the Christian village of Araden”.

It should be noted that hundreds of Christians from Mosul and the Nineveh plain, who fled in 2014 following the rise of the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis) still live in the area today. Jihadists who, according to the accusations, often moved undisturbed and were helped by neighboring Turkey….

According to some local experts, relaunched by Christian organizations online and on social networks, among the most affected areas are the Christian villages of Chalik, Bersiveh and Sharanish. The objective of these military operations is to make the inhabitants flee from these areas, now almost deserted, in order to create Turkish bases from which to launch targeted ground operations against elements of the PKK. The bombings, a source concludes, are always followed by heavy fires that end up destroying all crops, homes and even cemeteries. Since the beginning of 2020, at least 25 Christian villages in northern Iraq have been emptied of their original population, with a scenario that recalls the years of tension and conflict between 1980 and 1990.