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05/18/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Christians in Turkey are warning that the historical Greek Orthodox Church located in the village of Yeşildere has been rapidly destroyed over the past five years because of treasure hunters. These hunters have stripped graves, excavated the building structure, and destroyed the garden. This warning comes as winter has ended, and this is the season when treasure hunters can easily dig since not many people live in the village during the winter. Villagers have asked the authorities to preserve the church and make it a tourist site.

The village used to have a strong Greek Orthodox presence, but the Turkish genocide against ethnic-Christians significantly led to the elimination of the Greek presence throughout the country. Turkey has never apologized nor recognized their role in the genocide, and instead continue implementing policies which ostracize those few surviving Greek Christians in the country. It is a common misperception in many Islamic countries that Christians have treasure. In some cases, such as this, the misperception leads to the destruction of cultural heritage sites which were emptied because of Christian persecution. In other incidents, such as the violent murder of a Greek Christian in Turkey last year, the misperception leads to the tragic loss of life.

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