Possible Hate Murder in Turkey

05/16/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Turkish authorities on the island of Imbros have opened an investigation after an 86-year-old Greek man was found murdered in his home with his hands and feet tied. He was reportedly tortured.

Zafir Pinari’s death on May 14 comes just five days before the commemorative anniversary of the Greek Genocide. This genocide was conducted from 1913-1922 by the Ottoman Empire and was the systematic killing of Christian Greek citizens. By the time the Ottoman Empire collapsed and modern Turkey formed in 1923, most of the Greek population were either murdered or had fled the country. A wave of killing of Greek Christians again occurred in the 1960s.

A suspect has been arrested in this case and three others are under investigation. It is not yet clear as to what motivated the murder. However, given the historical context, local press covering the incident are labeling it as a hate crime.

The island of Imbros was historically Christian. It has special status, according to the Lausanne Treaty which governs Turkey. While the island is under Turkish sovereignty, Article 14 of the treaty gives it a special administrative status intended to guarantee the protection of the native non-Muslim population. The provisions have never been observed, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

Most Greek Christians have been forced to leave the island over a period of sustained persecution. The Archbishop told Helsinki Watch in 1992 that no Christians under the age of 65 remain in Imbros.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org. 

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