Priests in southeastern Turkey demand gov't protect Diyarbakır church from PKK
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULFeb 04, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Feb 04, 2016 12:00 am
Priests from churches in eastern and southeastern provinces have demanded the state protect their sanctuary from the PKK, according to information received in a meeting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had with a group of nongovernmental organizations and opinion leaders from the southeastern region of the country on Tuesday.
Reportedly, Yusuf Akbulut, the priest at Diyarbakır's Virgin Mary Ancient Assyrian Church, told Davutoğlu that priests from around the world had called him when they heard about the meeting with the prime minister and said: "Tell him, he should protect our churches from the PKK. Soldiers should protect our churches. Do not let them get damaged."
Ravaging Turkey's southeast, mosques, churches and other places of cultural heritage have also been damaged. It was previously reported that the PKK dug ditches in streets for street clashes and set up explosive-laden booby traps in the Sur district of Diyarbakır province, covering an area housing several historic mosques as well as Armenian Catholic and Protestant churches.Prior to that, Aram Ateşyan, the acting head of the Armenian Patriarchate, announced that a religious event planned for September in the historic Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island in Lake Van in the east has been canceled due to security as the PKK increased its attacks in the region.
In the meeting on Tuesday, Davutoğlu also said that the state is quite restrained in conducting operations, giving an example from incidents in which soldiers delivered feed to people engaged in animal husbandry in the Dargeçit district of Mardin province.
Opinion leaders support the operations, but have shown willingness to continue the reconciliation process. "It should be the people, not the PKK, that needs to be talked with. If the People's Democratic Party [HDP] will take part in it, all Kurdish parties, including the Free Cause Party [Hüda-Par] must be in the process as well."
Both nongovernmental organization representatives and opinion leaders reportedly agreed that the HDP is the party that harms Kurds most.