Why Turkey's Seizure of Churches is Deeply Troubling

You don't need to have "Istanbul, Not Constantinople" memorized to know that Turkey is a Muslim country built by Muslim colonists and settlers on the back of a Christian civilization. Some of its mosques used to be churches. And quite a few Muslims in Turkey would like to turn all the remaining churches into mosques or, in some cases, back into mosques.

That makes the question of church property an explosive one and the seizures of churches by the Islamist AKP Erdogan regime more troubling.

After 10 months of urban conflict in Turkey’s war-torn southeast, the government has expropriated huge sections of property, apparently to rebuild and restore the historical centre of the region’s largest city, Diyarbakir.

But to the dismay of the city’s handful of Christian congregations, this includes all its Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches. Unlike the state-funded mosques, Turkey’s ancient church buildings – some of which pre-date Islam – have been managed, historically, by church foundations.

The Erdogan regime has a history of using this brand of eminent domain and accompanying "reconstruction" to eliminate problem areas. Tear down a place that serves as a gathering for people you don't like and replace it with a shopping mall. The Europeans won't complain. They'll float you a loan to do it.

While Obama welcomes Erdogan's megamosque in America, Christians have trouble with churches in Turkey. But Obama instead lobbies Greece to make more space for Islamic services.

On April 2, a gigantic Ottoman style of mosque was opened in Lanham, Maryland by the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The mosque, according to Turkish officials, is "one of the largest Turkish mosques built outside Turkey."

Funds to build it, as reported by the Turkish pro-government newspaper, Sabah, came from Turkey's state-run Presidency of Religious Affairs, known as the Diyanet, as well as Turkish-American non-profit organizations.

The mosque is actually part of a larger complex, commonly referred to as "Maryland kulliye." Akulliye, as such Islamic compounds were called in Ottoman times, is a complex of buildings, centered on a mosque and composed of various facilities including a madrassa (Islamic religious school).

Erdogan recited verses from the Quran inside the mosque after the mosque was opened.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away from the American soil, in Turkey, Christians have for decades been deprived of the right to build their places of worship.

It's not just that the left insists on welcoming Muslims. But it shows its double standards when it refuses to stand up for the rights of Christians. It doesn't believe in freedom of worship. It believes in empowering Islamists to oppress Christians and Jews, not to mention Hindus and Buddhists, all over the world.

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