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11/05/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –Witnesses were heard in the third hearing against Assyrian priest Father Sefer Bileçen, who is accused by the Turkish authorities membership in a terrorist organization because he provided food and water to the PKK. The hearing was held at Mardin’s 4th High Criminal Court and was closed to the press.

Two detained witnesses regarding the case were heard. According to the press, one witness stated that he does not know Father Bileçen but heard from others that he gave food to the PKK. The second witness said that they wanted food and that Father Bileçen shared with them without knowing their identities. After hearing these testimonies, the court decided to postpone making a decision and another hearing was scheduled on January 27, 2021.

This case shows how Christians are a constant casualty of the Turkish-PKK conflict.  Since the PKK is a terrorist group, Christians cannot safely deny their requests should these members appear on their doorstep. Meanwhile, Turkey is quick to accuse anyone of membership with the PKK. This tension has caused many Assyrian Christians to leave southeast Turkey, where Father Bileçen currently lives.

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