Persecution of Christians in Turkey: these Christians were, in the first place, exercising the obligation of charity. They were also acting upon the fact that the Kurdish fighters had previously killed members of the community who refused to give them food and water: “We are caught in a conflict that we have nothing to do with.”

As we continue to see our own Mother Church of Constantinople suffering from persecution in Turkey, we note with sorrow the fact that all the Christians in Turkey live a difficult existence amid numerous troubles. We once again call upon the government of Turkey to grant full religious freedom to all that nation’s Christians.

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

“Three Assyrian Christians arrested in Turkey,” Christian Today, January 14, 2020:

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling on Turkey to end discrimination against religious minorities after three Assyrian Christians were arrested on 9 January. 

Father Sefer Bileçen, also known as Father Aho, who is caretaker of the 1,500-year-old Mor Yakub Monastery in Mardin province, was among those to be arrested by Turkish Gendarmerie in the Assyrian town of Üçköy. 

Also arrested were Assyrian Christians Joseph Yar, chair of the town’s council, and Musa Taştekin, from Dibek village. 

Taştekin is the only one of the three to have been released so far. 

CSW reports that Father Aho was arrested after a member of the People’s Defence Forces (HPG) gave a secret testimony. 

The HPG is the military wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey has called a ‘terrorist organisation’. 

Father Aho is alleged to have given food and water to members of the HPG at the monastery.  His lawyer is contesting his arrest, sources told CSW. 

A member of the Assyrian Christian community told CSW: “They accuse us of feeding the PKK when they knock at our doors carrying their guns.

“In the past, PKK fighters killed some community members who refused to give them food as per government’s orders. We are caught in a conflict that we have nothing to do with.”…