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11/12/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – A neighborhood recreational project in the Turkish town of Dargeçit is facing increased criticism for attempting to build the “Nation’s Garden” on top of Armenian and Syriac Christian graves.

The Saray Neighborhood Recreation Project was launched three years ago by an appointee of the Interior Ministry. The $220K project became part of a broader 2018 presidential election promise made by the ruling AK Party to build recreational facilities throughout the country. Since then, the Saray Neighborhood Recreation Project has moved forward. Within the last year, the appointee built a toilet in the Armenian portion of the cemetery as part of the project. Armenians are often the subject of racial slurs equating them with being dirty and unsanitary.

Both Armenians and Syriacs were victims of the 1915 genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turks against Christians. Throughout the past century, those who survived have faced ever increasing pressure that ostracizes them from society. Their cemeteries are often targeted by vandals and subjected to government attempts of removal.

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