Displaying items by tag: Turkey
The police forces in Turkey’s Kurdish region resemble occupying armies. Government-appointed mayors, police brutality and armies of imams have altered society’s fabric. Allegations against Special Forces of rape and sexual harassment are ignored. If such accusations are publicised, officials will dismiss it as affairs between soldiers and girls who want to marry them. A former mayor commented, ‘It is better that they are involved in prostitution than protesting the government.’ A young Kurd who photographed a policeman killing an innocent Kurd in 2017 now faces twenty years in prison, while the policeman goes unpunished. Also recently hundreds of army officers, pilots and civilians were jailed for life for taking part in the 2016 attempted coup to overthrow President Erdoğan. The acquittal of the police officer and the hundreds jailed comes when Erdogan is trying to attract foreign investors. Even the simplest reforms would demand drastically altering the way Turkey polices, prosecutes, judges, and imprisons its residents. See
An earthquake in the Aegean Sea on 30 October has so far killed 107 people in Turkey and Samos. It is not yet clear on how many people are still under the rubble of 20 Turkish buildings; 144 survivors are still in hospital and over 1,000 people were injured in Turkey. A ‘mini tsunami’ flooded streets in Turkey and Samos. Four days after being buried alive a young girl called Ayda was pulled from the rubble. As she was being taken to an ambulance, wrapped in a thermal blanket, everyone clapped and chanted ‘God is great’. Her rescue came a day after a three-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl were also pulled out alive from collapsed buildings. Pray for those still waiting for news of lost relatives - and for any more still alive to be found.
On 21 July 2020, 27-year old university student Pınar Gültekin (pictured) was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, becoming another victim of Turkey’s wave of femicides. Gültekin was declared missing for six days before she was found dead, strangled to death for refusing to reconcile with her former partner.
The news of Gültekin’s murder sparked protests across the country, with women taking to the streets in more than ten cities. The largest demonstrations took place across various neighbourhoods of Istanbul, gathering thousands of people. Smaller-scale protests also took place in less-populous Turkish cities including İzmir, Edirne, Mersin and Malatya.
On more than one occasion, women protesting gender-based violence were met with violence themselves. In İzmir, police officers brutally intervened in the protest and several women were beaten. Videos from the event captured scenes of women being manhandled and dragged away by police officers. 12 were taken into custody, although they were later released.
Since the news of the murder of Gültekin, 11 women have met a similar fate. These tragic murders are, unfortunately, in no way isolated incidents. They form part of a larger pattern that has been emerging in Turkey under the country’s increasingly authoritarian Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
Under the AKP, the number of women killed by men has increased rapidly. Since 2010, more than 3,000 women have been murdered as a result of male violence, with the figure more than doubling over the years. The vast majority of these women were killed for making decisions about their own lives – breaking up with a partner or rejecting men’s advances.
The government’s attempt to turn the Istanbul Convention into a wedge issue has backfired. There is no clear segment of society against it, and according to an opinion poll by Turkey Report only 8.8 percent of the population want to withdraw, and 51.7 percent are not even aware of its contents.
While the number of femicides has steadily increased, the Turkish government has failed to implement measures to protect women or introduce any reforms to tackle gender inequality. According to the Judicial Records statistics in 2019, most of the complaints made by women of sexual and physical violence do not result in a prosecution. This year, Turkey ranked 130th out of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index. Women’s rights activists are outraged by the deteriorating situation that is worsened by the proposal to withdraw from the treaty, with many arguing that it was never properly implemented in the first place.
Pray that Turkey's wave of violence against women and femicides would stop immediately
Pray that the current Turkish government would take more actions and responsibilities to prevent these murders
Pray that all Turks would find the true women's right and equality in Jesus Christ and His Gospel of peace
Dozens of foreign Christians in Turkey have been forced to leave the country or been banned from returning, in what appears to be government targeting of the Protestant Christian community. Many, like Carlos Madrigal of Spain, had been serving in Christian leadership roles in Turkey for decades, forming families and buying property. At the airport in November 2019, Carlos was given a stamp in his passport that would keep him from returning to Turkey, so he cancelled his trip and appealed the decision. He was told, ‘We must inform you that since 2019, it has been made increasingly difficult for foreign Protestant clergy serving in Turkey to be resident in our country’. An estimated 35 Christian workers received similar bans in 2019 and 16 more since the end of June. 10,000 Turkish Protestants attend 170 churches, many of them house churches. Turkey ‘officially’ allows freedom of religion, including conversion from Islam.
Gulgoze (Turkey) - Inside the sixth century church in southeastern Turkey, dozens of Assyrian Christian women, men and children in their Sunday best attend a service, one of only a few held in their ancient homeland. They are among the nearly 4,000 Assyrians left in the region after violence and poverty forced the community to leave Turkey in the 20th century. They are now scattered across Europe, with over 100,000 living in Germany, nearly 100,000 in Sweden and tens of thousands in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.
Assyrian Christians, also known as Syriacs, are part of the eastern Christian tradition and pray in Aramaic, which Jesus is believed to have spoken. Yuhanun Akay, 40, lives in the historic region of Tur Abdin (meaning "Mountain of the servants of God" in Syriac), in the centuries-old village of Gulgoze in Mardin.
The village, known as Ain Wardo, meaning "eye of the rose" in Syriac, was once home to hundreds of Assyrian families, where they farmed, prayed and educated their children. Now only three families remain including Akay, a farmer and father-of-eight.
"In the past there were 200 Syriac Christian families, and seven priests in the village. We had three churches, so each neighbourhood had a church," he told AFP.
"Every Sunday there would be a service in all three churches and they would be full."
There are 2,500 churches and 300 monasteries in Tur Abdin, according to Evgil Turker, head of the Federation of Syriac Associations.
Community leaders including Turker are worried over the future of the community in Turkey despite a slight recent increase in population figures. There are around 20,000 Assyrians in Istanbul. Like other communities, Turker said Assyrians were affected by the same economic issues and "political pressures" under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.
Some left in search of a better life.
There were fears earlier this year that Assyrians were being targeted after a couple belonging to the Chaldean Catholic minority went missing in January in Sirnak, near the Iraqi border. While Hurmuz Diril, 71, remains missing, his wife Simoni, 65, was found dead in March.
The arrest of Syriac Orthodox priest Sefer Bilecen on terrorism charges also caused concern, but Turker said he did not believe there was state-led targeting of Assyrians.
Pray for Assyrian Christians in Turkey:
Pray that the political and any other form of pressures from the government against Assyrian Christians in Turkey would stop immediately
Pray that the Turkish government would assure the livelihood of Assyrian Christians to stay in their places and to keep their traditions
Pray that God would bring a revival among these Assyrian Christians and other traditional orthodox churches in Turkey and throughout the Middle East
Gulgoze (Turkey) (AFP)
More info: http://silkwavemission.com
On 11 July the UN approved a new round of cross-border aid to Syria through the Turkish border into militant-controlled Idlib province - providing one year of foreign aid to the northwest region of Syria and critical supplies to over one million Syrians. Millions more civilians within opposition-controlled areas rely heavily on such aid to survive. Throughout the war Syrian Christians have played a vital role within their communities, providing a lifeline to those in need. Many of them are within government-controlled areas, which are more heavily impacted by sanctions. If foreign aid to these areas was abolished, it would limit the resources used by Christians to provide hope to their communities. Pray for the international Christian community to seek new ways to bring about resolution and peace in this war-weary nation.
From Morocco to Iraq there are various forms of lockdowns, strains on hospitals, food shortages, even martial law. These strains put more pressure on already-stressed communities. The potential spread of the disease among refugees and displaced populations could be catastrophic. Many are persecuted believers with no financial safety net and poor medical infrastructures. For war-torn Syria, the pandemic has taken the situation from bad to worse. ‘We are free from the armed militia in Aleppo, but prices here are soaring’, said Kareem, ‘We have all signed up to receive bread from the government, and the needs are overwhelming.’ In Turkey, many are Iranian converts from Islam who fled Iran after being imprisoned or tortured for their faith. Turkish locals now blame them for the spread of coronavirus. The government has cut off all assistance, and many Christians have lost their employment. The Bible advises to go to the Lord with trials and problems; this virus is a serious problem.
Libya, a major oil producer, has been mired in turmoil since 2011 when Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in a NATO-backed uprising. In the first week of June the warring sides began new ceasefire talks in Libya. On 14 June the Turkish foreign minister and his Russian counterpart decided to put off the talks during a phone call; however, they said that it was important to prevent another failed ceasefire. Pray that there will be constructive positive talks for a lasting ceasefire without any more postponements. Pray for a spirit of unity to flow through all communication between the Iranian foreign minister, Turkish president Erdogan, and Russian president Putin. Pray also for an end to the heavy clashes that erupted recently despite a unilateral ceasefire proposal by Egypt.
Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for over 200 people accused of links to an outlawed group the government blames for the 2016 failed coup. Security forces are searching for 191 people, 181 of whom were active members of the air forces. Prosecutors also named suspects found on the messaging app ByLock which was used by followers of cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan blames Gulen for the 2016 coup attempt that left 250+ dead and 2,000+ injured. Gulen, who lives in self-imposed American exile, denies involvement in attempting to unseat Erdogan. The latest arrests are part of a renewed push to suppress the group as parliament resumes debating a controversial bill boosting the powers of a neighbourhood watch force - Erdogan’s latest effort to tighten his grip on the country. The legislation would allow 28,000 watchmen to frisk citizens, demand identification, search their cars, and use weapons if needed.
Three frontline health care workers have mysteriously fallen out of hospital windows in Russia recently, heightening public attention to the working conditions for medical staff. The incidents reflect the stress doctors are under in ill-equipped hospitals where medical workers are getting sick or dying: see Many healthcare staff are scared to complain publicly about working conditions. The UK media claimed 400,000 PPE sent from Turkey failed to meet UK safety standards, with gowns not ‘of the quality good enough for front-line staff'. As France extends emergency measures until 24 July, passengers travelling on Eurostar from the UK will have to wear a face mask or face covering, in line with guidelines from the French and Belgian governments.