Where they find themselves living under a secular government that is rapidly Islamizing. “Haunted by violence, Iraqi Christians flee to Turkey,” from AFP, January 16 (thanks to C. Cantoni):
Rising violence in parts of Iraq that Christians previously regarded as safe havens lead an increasing number to flee to neighboring Turkey. Safe in a tiny Catholic community in Istanbul, many Iraqi Christian refugees say returning home is not an option. ‘Going back to what?’ one asks. ‘Getting killed?’
Terrorized by mounting extremist attacks, more and more Iraqi Christians are fleeing in panic to neighboring Turkey, among them lone minors sent away by desperate parents.
In Istanbul, a tiny Chaldean Catholic community has embraced the refugees, serving as their first point of shelter before the United Nations or local civic groups extend a helping hand.
The number of arrivals, available statistics show, has sharply increased since Oct. 31, when gunmen stormed a Baghdad church, killing 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security guards in an attack claimed by al-Qaeda’s local affiliate.
“We saw many newcomers after the attack. We saw they had made no preparation and had no savings,” said Gizem Demirci, an activist at the Association for Solidarity with Asylum-Seekers and Migrants…..