Christians Arrested for Sharing Food in Turkey?

01/13/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Turkey persists in the arbitrary detainment of a Syriac priest and two other Christians, both of whom were village headmen, after conducting a military operation in the southeast.

The exact reason of their arrest remains unknown, but local media reports that they were detained after Turkey’s anti-terror branch received an anonymous tip that the three Christians had shared food with a member of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). The Assyrian Associations Foundation says that this arrest is “a second case of Pastor Brunson,” a reference to an American pastor arbitrarily detained for two years in Turkey for alleged PKK connections.

The PKK is a designated terrorist group that operates in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq (the PKK operates in northern Syria under a different name). This area is also the homeland of Assyrian Christians, such as the three arrested. The conflict between Turkey and the PKK often puts Christians in a difficult position.

Few are likely to refuse a request from an armed group for food, which makes it difficult for local Christians if they are approached by the PKK. If sharing food is indeed the reason for the three’s detainment, they are not the first Christians to be caught between the ongoing conflict between the Kurds and Turkey.

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