Turkey’s abuse of historic churches continues
Illegal treasure hunters recently defiled a nine-hundred-year-old church in the northwestern Turkish city of Bursa. The Turkish government placed Aya Yani church under preservation after the local population left the area decades ago due to persecution and even genocide.
However, this church and other Christian faith sites, are often targeted by treasure hunters, hoping to find gold or items of worth in these historical buildings. Despite the preservation order on this church, it was allowed to decay and left abandoned for years.
Another former church, Chora Church, was set to become a mosque in October 2020. The old church had been converted into a museum but Turkey’s President Erdogan issued an order to re-convert it into a mosque.
Now, months later, the doors remain closed, and no new opening date for the mosque has been set. It is presumed that Erdogan repealed his order following the international outcry. Chora Church, as a museum, also draws many religious tourists every year.