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09/17/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Once again, Turkey’s judicial courts have issued a disappointing decision during the proceedings relating to the murder of Hrant Dink, an Armenian Christian activist and journalist who was assassinated in 2007. The assassination occurred just a few months after Dink was charged for “making disparaging comments about Turkish identity” and for calling the 1915 Armenian massacre a genocide. The government is believed to have been involved in the assassination, according to multiple international human rights groups. The result has been a multi-year court drama with numerous delays and setbacks for the family as they seek justice.

Yesterday, the case continued in Istanbul’s 14th Heavy Penal Court. The court reversed its decision to hear MİT İstanbul Regional Head Ahmet Köksoy, a move which was protested by the Dink’s family lawyer. MİT is the acronym representing Turkish Intelligence, who are believed to have been involved in Dink’s assassination. However, every attempt to investigate this angle has been blocked, one of the reasons why the court case has drug on for so many years.

Unfortunately, such a situation is all too common for Turkey’s Christian community. Insulting Turkishness is against Turkey’s penal code, and there is a social belief that all true Turks are Muslim. References to the Ottoman-era genocide are strongly discouraged, and the authorities often go out of their way to deny all references to the genocide. The government also has a long record of interfering within Christian affairs, even to the point of creating an environment which furthers additional persecution. Also, Turkey’s judicial system is sadly lacking regarding issues impacting Christians. For those Christians who were the victim of some type of incident, the authorities rarely pursue a full and transparent investigation. Given that Turkey is one of the most developed countries within the Middle East region, as well as being a NATO ally and candidate for EU membership, such a situation is all the more concerning.

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