08/15/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – The Daily Sabah, a Turkish government run news agency, has run yet another article inciting hatred and opposition towards Christians. The article categorizes Greek Cypriot Christians as a national threat, then gravely warns that “Turkey proved what it is capable of doing against threats toward it in Syria and Iraq… we hope that the Greek Cypriots are analyzing the latest developments correctly.”
Cyprus remains a controversial topic within Turkey. A founding document of modern Turkey renounces the country’s Ottoman-era claims to the island, which is populated with Greek Orthodox Christians (78%) and some Turkish Muslims (18%). However, following Cyprus government upheaval in 1974, Turkey invaded. Since then, the country has remained partitioned between Greek Christians and Turkish Muslims. The situation is the longest peacekeeping mission in United Nations history and has proven intractable.
Turkey has engaged in a strategy which seeks to move mainland citizens into Cyprus. As part of this program, the government engages in a media messaging strategy that encourages the belief that foreign Christians seek to undermine Turkey. The recent article in the Daily Sabah is quick to assert that the Orthodox Church is the main “provoker of enmity toward Cypriot Turks.”
The situation is example of the diversity of persecution on display in Turkey. Christianity is viewed as inherently foreign (although the New Testament church was born in Turkey) and thus hostile to the country’s Islamic values. Turkey has committed a genocide against Greek and other ethnic Christians.
Turkey’s aggression in Cyprus has come under heavy international condemnation, but the situation remains hostile. Many local Christians remain worried that this aggression stems from a desire to make the island Muslim once-again. The partitioned island is recognized as one of the most complicated ongoing land disputes in the world.
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