Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Diyarbakir, Turkey. We’ve learned that they haven’t been able to meet in their building as a result of a crackdown by the Turkish government on the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Several news sites report that the Sur District, where the Old City is, has been under a strict curfew for more than 80 days.
The pastor at our partner church in Diyarbakir says that they have not been able to meet in their building in the old city district for months.
This congregation and its off-shoot in Mardin have been instrumental in ministering to the Iraqi and Syrian refugees all along the border.
Christianity Today reported in early February that St. Mary Syriac Orthodox Church — which is very near our partner church — was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. The priest, Rev. Yusuf Akbulut, and his family fled Old City Diyarbakir and the end of January.
A former mayor of the Sur municipality is a friend of At the Crossroads and recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about the fighting destroying his city.
The history of the ancient city goes back at least to the Assyrian Empire. The walls seen today were built in the Byzantine era.
“Christianity took hold in the region between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, particularly among the Semitic Assyrians of the city,” records Wikipedia. “The earliest documented bishop of Amida (as the city was known in Roman times) was Simeon of the Church of the East, who took part in the First Council of Nicaea in 325, on behalf of the city’s Assyrian and Aramean Christians.”
Related news stories
- Death and destruction in Diyarbakir, Turkey (DW.com)
- 1,700-year-old Orthodox church damaged in Turkey fighting; priest escapes with his family (Christian Today)
- Diyarbakir ancient district suffers “irreparable damage” after months of clashes (Rudaw)
- Daily life struggles on in Turkey’s Sur as curfew enters 83rd day (Turkish Weekly)
- The destruction of Sur: Is this historic district a target for gentrification? (Guardian)