ASIA/TURKEY - Turkish media: the military offensive in Syria is not against Christians

Friday, 18 October 2019 middle east   area crisis   oriental churches   kurds   geopolitics  

Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - The Turkish military intervention in the north-east of Syria does not aim to hit or penalize the Christian communities present in that area, and the alarms launched in this regard by the media and organizations are part of the propaganda put in place to stir up anti-Turkey and anti-Erdogan sentiments in the public opinion of Western countries. Turkish media considered close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP Party took the field against those labeled as disinformation campaigns. In some cases, the media "counteroffensive" refers to circumstantial situations and episodes to refute the thesis - credited to some Western media - according to which Christian communities present in north-eastern Syria represent a targeted target of the Turkish military offensive.
In particular, according to reports from Abdulkadir Selvi, a correspondent for the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Kurdish militiamen have launched artillery shells from Tel Abyad against Agkcakale, placing mortars to launch bullets between the churches and buildings that in that city host institutions of local Christian communities, with the intention of guiding the predictable Turkish retaliation against those same buildings and places of worship, and thus being able to make believe that the Turkish military offensive had been unleashed to hit not only the Kurdish militias, but also Christian objectives. Other Turkish media such as Sabah and Milliyet give ample emphasis to statements and declarations made by Syriac Christian organizations and Assyrians often operating outside the Middle East - such as Assyria TV, a television channel based in Germany, and the World Syriac Federation, based in Sweden - with the intention of denouncing the pressures put in place by Kurdish militia linked to the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD, Syrian branch of the PKK) on the Christian communities of north-eastern Syria to push them to take part in the armed reaction against the Turkish military offensive.
The Turkish media, from the beginning of the military operation in Syrian territory called "Source of peace" (and currently suspended with a "ceasefire" of 5 days), also competed in publishing statements of ecclesiastical institutions and exponents who declared their own understanding and support for the offensive desired by Erdogan. Among others, Mor Gregorius Melki Urek, Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Adiyaman, recalled that the military operation was aimed at closing the "terrorist corridor" that was forming in the south-east of the Turkish border with Syria. While Armenian apostolic Archbishop Sahak Masalyan - currently in charge of coordinating the ongoing process for the election of the new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople - reiterated that the authority of the Patriarchate "is on the side of peace", adding that "unfortunately, the establishment of peace cannot always be achieved with peaceful means". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 18/10/2019)