Cemeteries of religious minorities in Turkey

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07/31/2022 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Radicals have targeted another minority cemetery in Turkey this month. On July 15, a Jewish community discovered that their local cemetery in Istanbul’s Haskoy neighborhood had been severely damaged. Vandals had desecrated 81 headstones, dug up graves and left the site in disorder. The perpetrators of this attack appear to be children under the age of 18, although some believe they acted on adult instructions. A local said: “Children don’t do that. An elder may have guided them.Police have reportedly taken five children into custody in an investigation into this latest vandalism.

This latest incident is part of a larger trend of attacks on non-Muslim cemeteries in Turkey. David Vergili, a Syriac-Assyrian journalist who focuses on Turkish minority issues, told the Jerusalem News Syndicate: “In the past two months, the graves of Syrian and Jewish communities in Turkey have been attacked and destroyed. The tombs and holy places of the Armenian community have also suffered similar attacks before.“He carried on,”These attacks have racist, religious motives and mostly target groups that are not part of Turkish-Islamic ideology.“The vandalism at a Jewish cemetery this month appears to be related to broader Turkish persecution of minorities, including Christians.

This month’s attack follows closely a similar incident against a Christian community in Turkey. On June 29, local Christians discovered that the perpetrators had desecrated their cemetery dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul just before an annual celebration honoring the two saints. Knowing that local Christians would gather in the cemetery chapel to celebrate the liturgical commemoration of St Peter and St Paul, the vandals planned their attack to maximize their affront to the Christian community. The desecration of cemeteries like this one, or like that of the Jewish cemetery vandalized this month, are symptoms of a Turkish hatred of non-Muslims in the country. As long as this hatred lasts, cemeteries and other significant sites will continue to be attacked.

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