Turkey Targets Oldest Syriac Orthodox Monastery

The European Commission has recently issued its 2016 Turkey Progress Report, which contains serious criticism of the country’s increasingly grave human rights record.

One of the issues that the report has brought to light is the problem that Assyrians (or Syriacs) in Turkey face as a religious minority, such as property rights for the oldest surviving Syriac Orthodox monastery in the world: Mor Gabriel (the monastery of St. Gabriel), located in Mardin province, in southeastern Turkey.

One would expect Turkey, a NATO member and a candidate for EU membership, to preserve both the monastery and the tiny Assyrian community in the country. Nonetheless, the Turkish government has been involved in a dispute with the historic monastery and has threatened its existence.