Barnabas, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Barnabas Update – June 15th 2022 (excerpts)

Attack on Assyrian Christian family in Turkey

Barnabas Fund, Jun. 13, 2022

An Assyrian Christian family were attacked in a village in Mardin, Turkey, after a church service on Sunday 5 June.

The service in Mor Gevargis Church was the first held in the building in almost 100 years. The renovation of the church was started in 2015 by the Assyrian Ancient Foundation.

After the service the Yilmaz family – the only Assyrian family who live in the village – were attacked at their home by a group of 50 Muslims.  The family were entertaining visiting clergy officiating at the service at the time.

The attackers were led by a Muslim family with whom the Yilmaz family have had a long-standing dispute over land.

The mob attacked the home with stones, sticks and other weapons.  They then set fire to wheat being grown on lands belonging to the Yilmaz family.  None of the family were injured, and the fire was eventually extinguished after witnesses alerted the police.

Some members of the Muslim family were arrested in connection with the incident. 

Cengiz Yilmaz said, “But we are not afraid. We will continue to stay here.” He accused the attackers of choosing the day of the church ceremony to re-open the land dispute.

The tiny remnant Christian community in Turkey, including a small number of converts from Islam, still bears the trauma of the genocides of the early 20th century, in which at least 3.75 million believers were killed by Ottoman Turks.