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11/19/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  Turkey has again confused faith tourism and religious freedom in the announcement that the Imera Monastery has been partially restored.

It is acknowledged that the Imera Monastery is an important Christian site in the eastern Black Sea region, but the fact that Christians in this area suffered a genocide which nearly eliminated their presence was ignored. Rather than taking steps to bring healing to those communities who have suffered genocide, their religious and cultural sites are instead turned into cultural tourism sites that help fund the state’s activities.

Because Turkey’s Christians lack a clear legal identity, their ability to regain ownership over their own churches and monasteries is severely limited. The fate of many Christian sites is instead determined by the state, who often turns these sites into other cultural tourism sites or mosques. The Christians whom these locations historically belonged too are rarely consulted.

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