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10/06/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – After weeks of ignoring requests from the Hrant Dink Foundation, an organization founded after the assassination of an Armenian journalist, to organize a conference mid-October, Kayseri has denied the request because of security issues. The conference would discuss issues relating to the local changes in Kayseri between 1850 and 1950. Several scholars were invited, including many from Greece and Armenia. The Hrant Dink Foundation intends to proceed with the conference in Istanbul.

This kind of conference covers several subject matters that the government has a long history of suppressing. The years 1850-1950 cover the years immediately before, during, and after Turkey’s genocide of Christians. Many of those Christians who survived the genocide now have descendants living in Greece and Armenia. Turkey consistently denies the genocide and makes every attempt at blocking efforts to raise awareness about Turkey’s historical record of persecution.

The freedom of expression is severely restricted in Turkey. For Christians, many of whom are still suffering the consequences of genocide, this restriction is doubly oppressive. Many desire to speak about these problems, but the government’s abuse of using national security reasons to restrict free speech makes doing so incredibly challenging.

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