Christians in Diyarbakir, south east Turkey, and Middle East Concern have requested prayer as legal consultations take place concerning a state takeover of church buildings and other properties.
Diyarbakir has been the centre of fighting between government forces and Kurdish fighters since a peace agreement broke down in June 2015. During this time, the small Christian communities of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Turkish Christian converts have been unable to access their church buildings in the city centre.
On 25th March 2016, the Turkish official government press announced that 6,300 plots of land in the centre of Diyarbakir were to be expropriated by the Environment and Planning Ministry, including the properties of the Protestant Church, Surp Giragos Armenian Church, Surp Sarkis Chaldean Church, the Armenian Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the Virgin Mary.
The Director of Foundations, Adnan Ertem, has said that the church properties have been expropriated to protect the historical buildings, but the Christians in Diyarbakir have been left without anywhere to meet and no provision has been made for the return of the properties to the Christian communities.
Although many other people and properties will be affected by the same state decree, the pastor of the Protestant Church, Ahmet Güvener, considers this to be an official bid to take over the church buildings which, he says, cannot be allowed.
- Pray for wisdom for church leaders and legal experts as they negotiate with the government.
- Pray that God will strengthen and encourage the small Christian community in Diyarbakir, which has already been deeply affected by the violence of the last 9 months.
- Pray that the churches will not lose the right to their buildings and that government officials involved will be supportive and respectful towards the local Christians, regardless of tradition or ethnic background.
- Pray for an end to the fighting in Diyarbakir and for restoration and healing for this community.
Matthew 21 vs 22: “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.’”