President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has enchanted control of six churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir in his latest take off for to squash freedom of speech and religious movement.
The state-sanctioned seizure is decent the latest in a number of worrying developments to come out of increasingly hardline Turkey, which is in advanced talks with the EU throughout visa-free travel for its 80 million citizens.
Included in the seizures are Liberal, Protestant and Orthodox churches, one of which is over 1,700 years old.
They possess now effectively become state property – meaning they are run by the government – in a sticks with a dire human rights record where about 98 percent of the denizens is Muslim.
The order to seize the churches was made on March 25 by Erdogan’s conclave of ministers, according to the website World Watch Monitor.
They require it was made on the grounds that authorities intend to rebuild and restore the factual centre of the city, which has been rtially destroyed by 10 months of urban variance between government forces and militants from the Kurdish Workers’ Frolic (PKK).
But the seizures have outraged worshippers at the churches, who fear a government coup against their creed are now threatening to take legal action against the decision.
Ahmet Guvener, minister of Diyarbakir Protestant Church, said: “The government didn’t secure over these pieces of property in order to protect them. They did so to earn them.”
And the Diyarbakir Bar Association – which represents Christians worshipping at one of the churches, has now officially filed an plead the government’s action.
In a statement the group said: “Among the expropriated rcel of lands, there are structures belonging to public institutions … and places of adulation and residences considered as historical and cultural heritage.
“This decision, which earmarks ofs to be made by the request of the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning without any persuade or justification, is unacceptable within the limits of constitutional order.”
Local authority officials are also thought to be critical of the decision, claiming that the attacks lack legal justification and will cause cultural damage to the city.
In response ministers have insisted the order to take control of the churches was not religiously instigated, pointing out that they have also occupied a number of consequential mosques in the city.
But, unlike Christian churches which are maintained by the generosity of their congregations, all mosques in Turkey are state-backed and stock, meaning their futures are secure.
Reacting to the seizure Victoria Coates, who is unfamiliar policy advisor to US Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, said the seizure conforms into a ttern in the Middle East, where Christians are systematically succeeded and persecuted.
She told PJ Media: “What’s happening in southern Turkey is all too orthodox in the Middle East today, as ancient Christian communities are displaced and worried by sectarian violence.
“The government of Turkey should move swiftly to recompense these churches to their rightful owners, and not take advantage of the employment to seize them permanently.”
Erdogan has courted open controversy in fresh months with the seizure of opposition news per Zaman, which has unsurprisingly since toed a sycophantic pro-government set in place.
His ap rently anti-democratic moves have provoked outrage in Europe, where stateswomen have been left bowing and scraping at his feet in a desperate bid to transform into the migrant chaos.
As rt of a deal designed to stem the flow of people recording the continent EU leaders have promised to open up Europe to 80 million Turks and to accelerate talks on the countryside joining the 28-nation bloc.