Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan vowed to defend Christians and rebuild churches and Christian communities damaged by the country’s military operation against Kurdish fighters in Northeastern Syria.
Erdogan recently met with US President Donald Trump, and during a joint press conference on November 13, the Turkish leader assured that his government has plans to restore churches and provide humanitarian aid to displaced Christians, reports Christian Post.
The Christian minorities — Aramaic, Catholics, Chaldean, Yazidi — the ones who are living on our side of the border have no problems whatsoever. —Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan
“These are the plans that we are making for them. As I said before, the Christian minorities — Aramaic, Catholics, Chaldean, Yazidi — the ones who are living on our side of the border have no problems whatsoever. But the ones remaining on the side of the Syrian territory will see their worshiping practices restored and revived in a special manner,” Erdogan said.
While the Turkish president claims to protect religious minorities, Christians in Turkey and Syria remain afraid.
Since Erdogan’s offensive against the Kurds, Christians have become victims of violence. Attacks against Christians intensified and many believers fled to Istanbul, or in other countries, reports Asia News.
Saliba Acis, a Christian from Diyarbakir province, revealed that people “left for different reasons: economic pressure, political pressure.” He added that, “We get no support from the state. This church is alive thanks to the community.”
Another Christian said, “We women left because we were afraid of the bombings.” She added that, “We just want peace. left behind so many memories…my husband, my house, my family and neighbors.”
Diyarbakir is the ancestral home of Assyrian Christians, one of the oldest Christian communities in Turkey. In the 1960s, hundreds of Christians lived in the city, but because of the conflict, only four Christians are left today.
Members of another church in Sur district lamented that the war has damaged not only worship buildings and shrines, it also destroyed Turkey’s Christian history and culture.