09/16/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – According to Turkish state media, the Diyanet Foundation (a non-profit linked to the state run Presidency of Religious Affairs, or DİB) has spent over $1.61 million to restore mosques and Islamic religious schools damaged in northern Syria.
Northern Syria has increasingly evolved into a major component of Turkish foreign policy. In January 2018, Turkey launched a major military operation in the city of Afrin. According to local sources, a number of Muslim Background Believers and openly public churches were targeted. As Turkey increases its activities in Syria, there is much fear among Christians on the ground that Turkey is encouraging the rise of local extremism.
In Turkey, it is nearly impossible for Christians to have a legally recognized church. The traditional Patriarchal Churches are recognized, but are heavily restricted. Evangelical churches are not recognized as legitimate, and instead are forced to register as an association.
Turkey’s efforts to pour resources into the restoration of Islam comes at a time when the country is gripped by economic instability. Meanwhile, the government is leading efforts which further restricts the open practice of Christianity both within and outside of Turkey.
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