Ancient Assyrian Church in Turkey Used to House Horses

02/02/2022 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Ethnic minority Christians living in Turkey often face increased persecution when it comes to historic religious places of worship. In a recently reported incident, the Assyrian/Syriac Church of Mor Aday is being used by local villagers as a cowshed.

Mor Aday Church, located in Idil district of Sirnak province, is said to have been built in 620 AD. The place of worship was left abandoned and abandoned by the local authorities. Although some walls are still standing, the historic church’s lack of protection means it must be manipulated to serve those who remain.

The church is located in Tur Abdin, the historic homeland of the Assyrians in Turkey. Few Assyrian Christians remain here and across the country. The Ottoman genocide of Armenians, as well as Greeks and Assyrians, decimated the Christian ethnic minorities.

Researcher Susanne Güsten commented in her report: “There were many pressures that continued to drive Syriacs out of Tur Abdin throughout the 20th century. Among them were the Turkification policies of the Turkish Republic, under which their villages and families were renamed to Turkish, their language was suppressed, their freedom of religion curtailed and their identity denied. Unlike Greeks, Armenians and Jews, Syriacs were never recognized by the Turkish state as a non-Muslim minority under the Treaty of Lausanne. As a result, they were not even granted the limited minority rights granted to these groups, such as schools and the right to safeguard their language and culture. The reason for this remains a matter of debate, but that does not change the fact that it constitutes a clear violation of both the letter and the spirit of the treaty by Turkey.

A report published by the Stockholm Center for Freedom highlighted the trends observed by the ICC, namely the increase in rights violations, hate speech and attacks against minorities living in Turkey in 2021. This includes the desecration of sites historical Christians across the country, including a Greek Orphanage, Chaldean cave church and Armenian churches. Treasure hunters and looters make use of the ancient unprotected ruins of churches and monasteries.

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