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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Assyrians hail addition of 9 churches in Mardin to UNESCO list

Publication Date: 10/5/2021

Source: Duvar

Turkey’s Assyrians have welcomed the recent addition of nine churches and monasteries in the southeastern Mardin province to UNESCO's World Heritage Tentative List.

Evgin Türker, president of the Federation of Assyrian Foundations, said that the move will help with the protection of these ancient sites and that they are expecting UNESCO to include them in the permanent list of World Heritage Sites.

“There were close to 300 monasteries in this region. Most of them have been damaged, destroyed. Monasteries that are under the UNESCO protection are still standing tall and people are still living at those places,” Türker told Voice of America's (VOA) Turkish service on May 9.

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The Copts of Egypt: The Challenges of Modernisation and Identity

Author: Vivian Ibrahim

Publisher/Publication: I. B. Tauris

DOI/ISBN: 9781780764665


The Political Lives of Saints: Christian‐Muslim Mediation in Egypt

Author: Angie Heo

Publisher/Publication: University of California Press

DOI/ISBN: 97805202979


Journalist Uzay Bulut Unveils Turkey’s Genocidal Past, Ongoing Human Rights Violations

Author: Jackie Abramian

Publication Date: 24/4/2021

Source: Forbes

Today U.S. President, Joe Biden formally recognized the massacre of Armenians by the Turkish Ottoman Empire during WWI as an act of genocide, as Armenians worldwide commemorate the 1915 Genocide of 1.5 million Armenians.

Turkey is a “dictatorship” that harshly penalizes citizens for criticizing the military, the Turkish nation, president, government institutions, or national heroes, says journalist Uzay Bulut. In an era of ‘alternative facts’ Bulut upholds truth and justice for the oppressed minorities in her homeland of Turkey by defying the autocratic government. Endangering her own safety and living in self-imposed exile is the sacrifice for continuing to unearth and publish articles on Turkey’s genocidal past and ongoing human rights violations.

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For Turkey’s Armenians, Biden’s Genocide Declaration Makes Little Difference

Author: Liz Cookman

Publication Date: 29/4/2021

Source: Foreign Policy

Armed with a large, shiny key, Sahak Tavukcu, the caretaker of Surp Hresdagabet Church, is one of the last Armenians remaining in Istanbul’s Balat neighborhood. The area was once home to a cluster of minorities such as Armenians, Greeks, and Jews. Today, however, the district’s residents are predominantly conservative Muslims, and Balat itself has attracted anti-Armenian sentiment, even though most Armenians left the neighborhood years ago.

According to the Turkish Armenian patriarchate, around 60,000 ethnic Armenians remain in Turkey, mostly in and around Istanbul, a far cry from the over a million Armenians who called it home before the tragic events of 1915-1917, when the Ottoman Empire led hundreds of thousands of Armenians on forced marches from the capital to the Syrian desert, saying they needed to be resettled for military reasons. Between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians died due to massacres, murders, or ill treatment.

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Orthodox Christians in Turkey mark Easter

Publication Date: 3/5/2021

Source: Hurriyet Daily News

Most Orthodox Christians in Turkey celebrated Easter at home this year due to the 17-day pandemic lockdown, but limited number of faithful were able to attend the church services under strict rules.

In Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province, only a few Syriac Orthodox Christians gathered in the fourth-century Kırklar Church on May 2, in line with measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

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Sisi says Muslim, Copts ‘one fabric’ despite ‘spiteful people’s hate’

Publication Date: 2/5/2021

Source: Ahram Online

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Sunday said Egyptian Muslims and Copts have been “one fabric” throughout ages despite “spiteful people’s hate”.

The president, in a Facebook post, extended greetings to the Egyptian people on Easter and Sham El-Nessim, scheduled for Sunday and Monday respectively.

“I greet the great people of Egypt on the occasions of Sham El-Nessim celebrations and the Easter Sunday, which reflect the unity of this nation and the cohesion of its people”.

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President Sisi greets Egyptian Copts expats on Easter

Publication Date: 29/4/2021

Source: Egypt Today

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi greeted, Thursday Egyptian Copts living abroad on the occasion of the Easter.

In a cable published by Egyptian embassies and consulates on their official social media pages, the president also prayed to Allah to protect them, Egypt and the whole world.

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Egypt's Christians fearful after IS killing in Sinai

Publication Date: 22/4/2021

Source: Al-Monitor

The latest killing of a Christian man in Sinai by the Islamic State has brought back to Egypt's Christians memories of past attacks on churches by the terrorist group, even as the Coptic Orthodox Church appeared defiant.

Fear is reigning among Egypt's Christians following the killing of a coreligionist by a branch of the Islamic State (IS) in northern Sinai.

Nabil Habashi was shot and killed by IS Sinai after the terrorist organization accused him of collaborating with the Egyptian army and police fighting its militants in Sinai.

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