Non secular freedom advocates have warned that Turkey is embarking on a propaganda marketing campaign of “whitewashing” its therapy of spiritual minorities, and urged the U.S. State Division to designate Turkey as a rustic of explicit concern.
On the In Defense of Christians National Summit, held in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Aykan Erdemir, senior director of the Turkey Program on the Basis for Protection of Democracies, mentioned the most recent tendencies in regards to the persecution of ethnic and non secular minorities in Turkey.
He alleged that the regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is forcing spiritual minorities to take part in a propaganda marketing campaign designed to color an image of a tolerant authorities to the remainder of the world.
Erdemir stated, “The management, each spiritual and lay management of Turkey’s non-Muslim communities, at the moment are anticipated to be keen and in a position gamers in whitewashing the regime’s persecution and crimes.”
He cited examples of the coercion spiritual minorities in Turkey face, together with being pressured to “attend ceremonies or signal statements or play props in varied window dressing makes an attempt to point out that the Erdogan authorities is tolerant, benevolent and embracing of minorities.”
“This might merely be a letter pressured on Turkey’s spiritual minorities the place they state that there is no such thing as a stress on spiritual minorities in Turkey. … This could possibly be a letter for them to precise their assist of Turkish cross-border navy operations in Northern Syria.”
Erdemir highlighted one other reason behind concern for western governments and non secular freedom advocates: “There’s a flourishing of museums, church buildings and synagogues that don’t function worship halls, as homes of worship, however as tourism spectacles, as museums that the federal government restores and manages after which possibly at some point a yr permits spiritual ceremonies however makes use of … 12 months a yr to showcase the federal government’s tolerance and benevolence as speaking factors, as props, as window dressing.”
After urging the U.S. and different Western governments to “not partake in such whitewashing ceremonies at such websites and provides legitimacy and credibility to the Erdogan authorities’s stunts,” Erdemir known as on the State Division to designate Turkey as a “nation of explicit concern.”
The State Division assigns the CPC label to nations engaged in “extreme violations of spiritual freedom” beneath the Worldwide Non secular Freedom Act of 1998.
In keeping with the State Department, the 1998 legislation defines “extreme violations of spiritual freedom as systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of spiritual freedom, together with violations corresponding to torture, degrading therapy or punishment, extended detention with out prices, abduction or clandestine detention, or different flagrant denial of the proper to life, liberty, or the safety of individuals.”
Erdemir contended that Erdogan’s conversion of a revered Christian landmark, the Hagia Sophia, right into a mosque merited Turkey’s designation as a CPC.
“The Erdogan authorities wants to finish state-sponsored and sanctioned propagation of hate and conspiracies towards spiritual minorities, which make them victims of hate crimes and hate speech and which then make much more reliant on the benevolence and the great graces of the Erdogan authorities for cover,” he proclaimed.
One other member of the panel, Amy Austin Holmes of the Council on International Relations, defined how a Christian who remained behind to guard his household’s land whereas the remainder of the household fled the Turkish-occupied Syrian metropolis Ras al-Ayn was pressured to participate in a propaganda marketing campaign.
Holmes detailed that at some point, Turkish-backed militias “got here to him and stated that they needed him to take part in primarily a propaganda video … to point out ‘look, there is a Christian who’s nonetheless in Ras al-Ayn’ and to make a video about it to attempt to persuade the world that issues weren’t that dangerous in Ras al-Ayn and there may be, in truth, no less than this one Christian who’s nonetheless there.”
Whereas the person initially agreed to adjust to the militia’s request and stated he would do the video the next day, he ended up escaping that night time reasonably than take part within the marketing campaign. Holmes reported that the aforementioned scenario just isn’t a novel phenomenon.
Holmes asserted that many non secular and ethnic minorities have fled the realm. As they left their properties behind, “the Turkish-backed militias have appropriated their [properties] and enriched themselves from the properties which have been left empty.” She known as on the U.S. to “be certain that it’s doable for everybody who fled from these areas to return, to regain their property, to obtain compensation for the property that was stolen or broken.”
Describing them as “dominated topics of a sectarian and unequal regime” and “de jure and de facto subjugated slaves or topics,” Erdemir elaborated on the impression of spiritual minorities fleeing Turkey: “Turkey’s Greek Orthodox at the moment are lower than 2,000, probably nearer to 1,500, nearly all above 60 years of age.”
“Turkey’s Jewish group is now beneath 17,000. So minorities are going extinct in Turkey.”
Courtesy of The Christian Post