This op-ed published by the New York Times was written by a friend of At the Crossroads. The former mayor of Diyarbakir has worked to foster co-existence and even cooperation among the many different Christians and Muslims in his region. Now he sees that work being undone. He writes:
“Entire towns and districts are under siege. Tanks ram through narrow alleys closed off by barricades and trenches. Residents are trapped indoors for weeks because of curfews. Those who venture outside risk sniper fire. Their bodies lie on the streets for days before they can be collected. Bullets fly in through windows and buildings collapse under shelling, killing those seeking shelter at home.
“This is not Syria. This is Turkey, the European Union candidate country once hailed as a champion of the Arab Spring. The conflict that restarted here after the breakdown of talks between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., last summer has turned into a devastating war in Kurdish towns and cities.
“Over the past decade, our municipality worked hard to revive and preserve this heritage. We oversaw the restoration of many historic buildings, including mosques and churches. The reopening of the Surp Giragos Armenian Church, which is now the largest Armenian church in the Middle East, after nearly a century in ruins has encouraged ‘hidden’ survivors in Turkey of the 1915 genocide to rediscover and embrace their heritage. Efforts to restore the old synagogue in memory of Sur’s once vibrant Jewish community were underway before the eruption of violence last summer.”