A rapidly Islamizing Turkey is unlikely to respond with contrition and generosity. “House Panel Approves Resolution Calling on Turkey to Return Confiscated Christian Churches,” by Tierney Smith for CNSNews.com, August 5 (thanks to Weasel Zippers):
(CNSNews.com) — The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently voted 43 to one in support of a resolution that calls upon the Republic of Turkey “to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties” — a step the Turkish Embassy described as “deeply regrettable.”
The resolution (H.Res. 306), introduced by Reps. Edward Royce (R-Calif.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), cites the “Ottoman Empire’s oppression and intentional destruction of much of its ancient Christian populations, including over 2,000,000 Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Pontians, and Syrics,” and adds that Turkey “has been responsible for the destruction and theft of much of the Christian heritage within its borders.”
The Ottoman Empire, from 1300 to 1922, was an Islamic-governed empire that covered much of southeastern Europe and parts of North Africa and the Middle East. In 1923, with the empire’s official dissolution, Turkey became one of its successor states.
According to the congressional resolution, which was passed on July 20, Turkey, “through official and unofficial acts of discrimination, intolerance, and intimidation, has hindered the remaining Christians on its territory from freely practicing their ancient faiths.”
The resolution urges the Turkish government to “end all forms of religious discrimination” and, among other related issues, “return to their rightful owners all Christian churches and other places of worship,” and “allow the rightful Christian church and lay owners of Christian church properties, without hindrance or restriction, to preserve, reconstruct, and repair, as they see fit, all Christian churches and other places of worship “¦ within Turkey.”
According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan federal commission that reviews violations of religious freedom, “The Turkish government continues to impose serious limitations on freedom of religion or belief, thereby threatening the continued vitality and survival of minority religious communities in Turkey.”
The USCIRF also says, “Over the previous five decades, the [Turkish] state has, using convoluted regulations and undemocratic laws to confiscate hundreds of religious minority properties, primarily those belonging to the Greek Orthodox community, as well as Armenian Orthodox, Catholics, and Jews. “¦ The state also has closed seminaries, denying these communities the right to train clergy.”
Aram Hamparian, director of the Armenian National Committee of America, told CNSNews.com that Turkey”s human rights violations “are far-reaching and widespread, having been extensively documented by the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and many others.”
He added, “The Turkish Government must sincerely accept responsibility for the genocidal crimes that led to the confiscation of these churches, and then work — in partnership with Christian churches, minority communities, and key stakeholders in the international community — to restore their rightful ownership.”…
Don’t hold your breath, Hamparian. Outrage is a much more likely response.