ISTANBUL — The Turkish government has seized the historic Armenian Surp Giragos Church, a number of other churches and large swaths of property in the heavily damaged Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, saying it wants to restore the area but alarming residents who fear the government is secretly aiming to drive them out.
The city, in the heart of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, has been the scene of heavy fighting for nearly a year, since the Turkish military began a counterinsurgency campaign against militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which ended a two-year cease-fire in July. Many neighborhoods have been left in ruins, and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes. Surp Giragos, one of the largest Armenian churches in the Middle East, was damaged in the fighting and forced to shut its doors.
Continue reading: Turkey’s Seizure of Churches and Land Alarms Armenians