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ICC Note: For Christians who have fled Iraq, many of them are now in Turkey waiting for help and trying to navigate the paperwork necessary to find a new home. The rise of the jihadist ISIS militants in Iraq have sent hundreds of thousands of Christians out of their homes, many of them leaving the country altogether as they see no future for them as Christians in Iraq.

11/27/2014 Turkey (Hurriyet Daily News) – It hardly seems the gateway to a new life of safety and prosperity: An office tucked away in a grey apartment block in Istanbul. Yet every day, dozens of Iraqi Catholics queue here, hoping it will open the door to a new life free of fear.

The Chaldean Catholics, members of Iraq’s Assyrian minority, have fled Baghdad and the now jihadist-controlled city of Mosul to escape the violence that has frequently targeted Christians since the US-led invasion of 2003.

The current threat posed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants who regard Christians as heathens has prompted more to leave and makes a return inconceivable for those who already left.

From Turkey they must deal with the mountain of paperwork to build new lives abroad, possibly with relatives already living in exile.

For help, they flock to the non-descript office of Turkey’s own tiny Chaldean community in Istanbul, run by its vicar Francois Yakan, who in 2005 founded the organisation Ka-Der aimed at helping Chaldean refugees in Turkey.

The Chaldean Catholics — who split with the Orthodox faith followed by much of the world’s Assyrian community in the 16th century to follow the pope — are awaiting the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Turkey, which begins Friday, with huge anticipation.

On a typical afternoon, dozens of Iraqi Chaldeans wait at the office, many of them with stories of long and complicated years in exile amid the chaos in Iraq.

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