The Turkish directorate of religious affairs is set to seize over 50 churches, monasteries and cemeteries belonging to the Christian Syriac community in southeastern Turkey.
Turkey imposed a state of emergency following a failed coup in 2016. Two years later, the measure has finally been lifted, but critics say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan still has the power to silence his opponents.
"Mass confiscations" by Turkey of churches belonging to Arameans of biblical origin have been decried by Berlin's Protestant bishop. Markus Dröge says "cultural destruction" is taking place in southeastern Turkey.
Ever since Turkey's attempted 2016 coup, a growing number of books have been outlawed and confiscated, with some even being considered evidence for certain crimes. Publishers, authors and readers are deeply concerned.
Prosecutors in Germany are reportedly investigating one of the highest officials of the Turkish religious authority Diyanet. The inquiry comes amid worsening relations between Berlin and Ankara.
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