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12/30/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Agos reports that Turkey has decided to turn Konya’s Holy Trinity Armenian Church into a cultural center. Turkey has finished restoring it to a cost of 3.5 million TL but it is not clear when the church will reopen in its new capacity.

The 1915 genocide nearly eliminated the Armenian Christian population from Turkey. Since then, Turkey has taken control over most of the abandoned churches and other Armenian cultural sites. Turkey does not acknowledge the genocide, and has not made any attempts to restore these churches back to their original Christian community. Instead, Turkey either converts these churches into mosques or restores their buildings into faith tourism sites. When pursuing the later option, Turkey uses it as an example to the international arena about how they care for religious freedom. However, it is a point which confuses religious freedom with faith tourism. The state reaps the monetary rewards of having churches restored into cultural sites and museums. Any remaining Christian community is forced to petition the state for access to these sites for worship purposes.

For more information, see ICC’s joint report: Turkey – Challenges Facing Christians 2016-2020.

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