The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and survival strategies of Christian communities in Greater Syria

Author: Sotiris Roussos

Publication: Contemporary Levant

DOI: 10.1080/20581831.2021.1881719

Published online: 24 February 2021

The millet system compartmentalised religious communities into different sociopolitical environments under the overarching Ottoman imperial realm. However, during the nineteenth century, state transformation and crisis and the global re-allocation of political and economic power led to the exacerbation of ethnoreligious conflicts. Facing the collapse of the Ottoman imperium and the threat of extinction, the Greek Orthodox, Assyrian, Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox communities developed five survival strategies. The first was co-optation by state authorities; the second, protection of the Great Powers; the third armed resistance and the creation of autonomous enclaves; the fourth was that of exodus; and the last was to integrate themselves into Arab nationalism, lowering the banner of religion and becoming strong advocates of an Arab national identity encompassing Muslims and Christians alike. This paper aims to present a comparative approach to these strategies in the period from the beginning of the twentieth century to the formation of the Mandates.

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Christianity in the Middle East (CME) | Report no.1

The aim of the CME report is to present and address the main features related to Christians living in the Middle East in regard to religious plularism and peaceful coexistence. The region of focus includes Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Moreover, emphasis is attributed to the relationship between the state and its institutions with the Christian communities, as well as in pinpoiting the factors and effects related to the Christian exodus from the Middle East. The documentation of the report reflects the research openly available on the CME website and serves as a database for the living conditions of the Christians in the Middle East. The CME reports are an ongoing endeavour, aiming at providing continuous updates on the state of religious pluralism for the Christians of the Middle East. The findings presented, therefore, are not exhaustive, but highlight main trends and continuities.

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Turkey accused of cynical motives for restoring churches in north Syria

Author: Mohammed Hardan

Publication Date: 12/7/2021

Source: Al Monitor

The Turkish Ministry of Defense recently announced that its armed forces carried out maintenance work on the Syriac Orthodox Church of Mar Tuma (St. Thomas) in the center of Ras al-Ain in northern Syria.

The ministry added in the July 14 statement that the Turkish armed forces have paid great attention to the restoration and maintenance of religious buildings in the Operation Peace Spring area.

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The project to erect a church in Ur of the Chaldeans takes off

Publication Date: 12/7/2021

Source: Agenzia Fides

A project to erect a church in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the Iraqi governorate of Dhi Qar, also equipped with a meeting room useful in particular to welcome Christian pilgrims who from Iraq and all over the world want to reach the place where Prophet Abraham's journey to the Promised Land takes off.

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For Iraqi Christians, scenes of both horror and hope

Author: Inés San Martín

Publication Date: 21/7/2021

Source: Crux

As Iraqis sort through the rubble of the latest terrorist attack Tuesday, an attack on a busy market in downtown Baghdad that left at least 30 people dead, one Catholic priest in Iraq says it’s important not just to focus on the horror of life in the country but also the hope.

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Islam and Christianity in medieval Anatolia

Author: Andrew Peacock, Charles Spencer, Bruno De Nicola, & Sara Nur Yildiz

Publisher/Publication: Taylor and Francis

DOI/ISBN: 10.4324/9781315589886


Duhok: Christians Displaced by PKK-Turkey War Live in Limbo


Publication Date: 29/5/2021

Source: Basnews

Since the beginning of the heavy conflicts between the Turkish army and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas in Kani Masi area of Duhok, the Christian residents of an entire village are displaced.

Chalke village is located in an area where Turkey repeatedly bombards as it suspects the presence of the PKK fighters in the area. The Christian residents of the village, however, have been relocated to Bersive Complex, where they live in uncertainty.

The villagers are also concerned about their farmlands and crops being burned to ashes with the ongoing armed conflicts, saying if not destroyed by war, they will be destroyed by the fact that there remains no farmer to take care of crops.

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Assyrian monk gets two years in a Turkish prison for giving a piece of bread


Publication Date: 7/4/2021

Source: Asia News

A Turkish court sentenced Assyrian monk Sefer (Aho) Bileçen to two years and a month in prison after he was convicted of providing “help to a terrorist organisation”.

The clergyman found himself up on terrorism charges after he gave a piece of bread to two people who had turned up at the gates of his monastery; prosecutors told the Mardin High Criminal Court that the people in question were members of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).

The clergyman, who was not present in the courtroom, has always protested his innocence, and rejected the charges.

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Turkey's illegal renditions of Syrian nationals back in spotlight

Author: Amberin Zaman  

Publication Date: 1/7/2021

Source: Al-Monitor

The rendition of Syrian nationals to Turkey, where they are prosecuted and jailed on thinly evidenced terror charges, has returned to the spotlight with the life sentencing by a Turkish court of three men of the Syriac Orthodox Christian faith to life in prison. Lawyers say the June 22 verdict violates Turkish and international humanitarian law and reflects the unlawful actions of Turkish forces and their Sunni rebel proxies in the large swaths of territory that Turkey occupies in northern Syria.

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Papal statement would help mobilize int’l community: Erdoğan


Publication Date: 17/5/2021

Source: Daily Sabah

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a phone call with Pope Francis Monday underlined that the pope's continued messages and reactions concerning Israeli attacks on the Palestinians will help mobilize the international community, as well as the Christian world.

Stating that an “atrocity” is being committed in Palestine, Erdoğan added that Israel is answerable to not only the Palestinian people but the whole of humanity, including Christians and Muslims.

Erdoğan further highlighted that Israel, which is blocking access to Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and limiting freedom of worship, is undermining human honor while also endangering regional security.

He stated that all of humanity must unite in the face of Israel’s illegal and inhumane practices that also violate the status of Jerusalem.

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