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ICC Note: Christian persecution in Turkey is ever on the rise as the government continues its crackdown against non-Muslims. They have gone so far as to persecute the dead among the Christian community. When Miho Irak, an Assyrian Christians from Turkey died in Belgium he had put in place that his body should be returned to his homeland for burial. As a member of the funeral fund of Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs, the government was to allot this right to him. When it was uncovered that he was a Christian, all promises were broken and fees canceled to give the Turkman his rightful burial.

11/18/2016 Turkey (PJMedia): Devoid of a free homeland or autonomy, Assyrians (Chaldeans-Syriacs) — who have resided in the Middle East for millennia — are being subjected to widespread persecution at the hands of the Turkish state and local Muslims.

The continued discrimination is so intense that even dead Assyrians and their cemeteries cannot escape it.

Miho Irak, an Assyrian Christian from Turkey, lost his life on August 20 at age 77 in Belgium, where he had been living for 22 years. A father of eight, Irak was a member of the funeral fund of Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs, the Diyanet. He regularly paid membership fees.

His daughter Nezahat Irak says that Diyanet officials gave up on their plans of taking her father’s dead body to Turkey after they learned he was a Christian.

According to its regulations, the Diyanet is to take the dead bodies of its members that lose their lives outside of Turkey to their home country. It is also to give consultation to the family members and provide them with burial services.

When Diyanet officials registered my father as a member, they did not ask him his religion. After he died, we requested them to hold his funeral in Turkey. They accepted our request and started the procedure, but before we sent my father’s dead body to Mardin, our hometown in Turkey, we wanted to hold half hour funeral ceremony at the church in the city of Machelen, where my father lived. Then the attitudes of the Diyanet officials completely changed. We were shocked.

We have all the records. The moment they heard the word “church”, they immediately changed their minds and told us that they do not serve Christians due to some article in the regulations of the Diyanet.

[T]he funeral fond of the Diyanet must serve all Turkish citizens regardless of their religious affiliation.

We are citizens of Turkey. And the article the officials referred to does not mention that they do not serve Christians.

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