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Cablegate: Christian Persecution Continues in Turkey's Southeast

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Two Turkish Christian representatives visited AMCON
Adana on October 19 to report on difficulties they have
experienced in carrying out their religious practices. Guldane
Migi from Adana and Huseyin Yelki from Malatya told ConOffs that
they believed they had been treated prejudicially by authorities
because they were Christians. Migi, an accountant, organizes
small-scale Christian activities in economically less advantaged
parts of Adana's Yuregir district. Migi complained that recent
attempts to change his religious preference from Muslim to
Christian on his official identity card had been rejected by
authorities. He claimed that this rejection stemmed from a 2003
Interior Ministry decree. Migi also mentioned that local
officials often failed to grant work permits to foreigners he,
as their accountant and business facilitator, had been involved
with by not handling their applications for inordinately long
periods, or by outright refusal without explanation.

2. (SBU) Yelki, a sales representative for Kayra, a small
Christian publishing house in Malatya, told ConOffs that
numerous attempts to place Christian books in local bookstores
had met with official censure. Yelki said that two weeks ago
officers of the Malatya-garrisoned Second Army visited
bookstores in Malatya and successfully pressured store owners to
remove the Christian books from their shelves. He also reported
that plain clothes police officers visited his publishing
house's office to check for "unauthorized or pirate books" and
asked what the company's goal was in selling the books. Yelki
said that officials were concerned about both Turkish and
Kurdish language Christian materials, e.g. Kurdish-language

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3. (SBU) Yelki mentioned that Malatya officials had refused his
company the opportunity to exhibit their Christian books in a
local religious book fair every year for the past three years.
Every book displayed at the fair was about Islam, specifically
Sunni Islam, Yelki said. He emphasized that official pressure,
societal prejudice and censuring of Christian materials had made
it impossible for Kayra to stay in business (Note: Yelki
estimated annual books sales at only 500 to 600 copies. End

4. (SBU) Local Muslim leaders have been publicly speaking out
against Christians, said Yelki. In May, one Malatya mufti
declared that Christian missionaries were trying to destroy
Turkish society; that the missionaries were turning Turkey into
a Christian land by returning to the tactics of the Crusades.
Yelki reported that his office manager, a South African
Christian, and he have met with the local muftuluk leaders on
three occasions over the past year, but have failed to get them
to cease their public anti-Christian declarations.

5. (SBU) Comment: Post continues to monitor reported instances
of religious discrimination and persecution by officials in
southeast Turkey. Unfortunately, instances like those reported
to us by Migi and Yelki are still common occurrences throughout
the region. End Comment.


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