Turkish Airstrikes Displace Iraqi Christian Villages

May 11, 2021

Christians have become the victims of Turkish military actions in Iraq. These actions, which have displaced 2,000 Christian families and emptied 25 Christian villages in 2020, are in keeping with Turkey’s 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.

“Turkish Airstrikes Displace Iraqi Christian Villages,” International Christian Concern, May 10, 2021:

05/10/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that by May 8, 2021, two Christian villages in Iraq’s Dohuk Province were reportedly abandoned because of Turkish bombardments. Kesta village was completely evacuated by May 3, with several residents fleeing to nearby Chalke village. However, Chalke village was then evacuated except for one individual by May 8.

Turkish bombardments increased in the area on April 23, allowing Turkey to establish new military bases. The timing of the operation was deliberately chosen to coincide with the commemoration anniversary of Turkey’s Ottoman-era genocide against Christians. Reports also indicate that Turkey has deployed chemical weapons three times in the area since their military operation began. Turkey claims that they are conducting national security operations against the PKK terrorist group within Iraq’s borders.

Raw video footage of the evacuation shows families leaving as the bombardment continues in the background. They are traveling through a rural, mountainous region over difficult roads and attempting to save their farming livelihood in the process. Iraqi media has also aired footage showing airstrike damage.

The lone man who refused to leave Chalke village told Rudaw“I have not abandoned my house and will not until I die. I sleep in my house, disregarding the constant bombardment.”…

ICC’s joint report entitled Turkey: Challenges Facing Christians 2016-2020 documented how Turkish military expansionism is impacting Iraq’s Christians. “(Turkey’s military) operations have received international censure for indiscriminately targeting civilians, even when there is no proven PKK presence within a village.”

“Iraq’s Christian community is predominately Assyrian, many of whose ancestors fled the Ottoman-era genocide. They also suffered and were displaced under the recent ISIS genocide. Compounding historical traumas have limited their quality of life. The Turkish-PKK conflict creates further limitations, while also causing a direct threat to human life.”…