Christians in Turkey: The Way Forward for Equality and Religious Freedom

Event scheduled for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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As voter support for the Erdogan government continues to erode in the run up to the 2023 parliamentary and presidential elections, there are hopes that this could end Turkey’s democratic backsliding and restore the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms. Many of the structural problems afflicting Turkey’s various Christian communities, however, predate Erdogan’s rise to power and cannot simply be resolved at the ballot box. Turkey requires a new policy vision to institutionalize equal citizenship, ethno-religious inclusion, and freedom of religion or belief for all. This panel will offer policy suggestions for reversing the worrying trends that have continued to bring Turkey’s various Christian communities to the brink of extinction. What steps can the United States, the European Union, international organizations, and advocacy groups take to end the systematic discrimination targeting Turkey’s Christian citizens
and residents.

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IDC Policy Briefing on Christianity in Syria: Roadmap for Preserving an Ancient Faith Community

Event happened on Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Christianity in Syria dates back to the very beginning of the faith. Unfortunately, as we mark the 10 year anniversary of the Syrian Civil War, the Christian community, down 50% since 2011, is faced with an existential crisis.  Turkey and Turkish-backed jihadist militias threaten Christian communities, particularly in northern Syria.  The instability caused by Turkey also creates fertile ground for the resurgence of ISIS years following its genocide against Christians in Syria. Meanwhile, many Christian communities, particularly those in government-controlled territory, are also experiencing a humanitarian crisis.

IDC hosted the policy briefing on May 25th at 1:00 PM (ET).

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IDC Roundtable with the Press on USCIRF’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom

Event happened on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom will officially launch its 2021 report highlighting the world’s worst violators against the right of worship and belief on April 21 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.

IDC hosted an on-the-record Q&A with reporters at 4:00pm. Speakers reviewed the report and shared their initial thoughts in brief opening statements.

Countries of Special Interest:

Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey

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IDC Policy Briefing on Turkey: The U.S. Must Address National Security Concerns & Human Rights Violations in Turkey

Event happened on Friday, March 19, 2021

Turkey continues to persecute Christians within its borders, and across
international borders, while aggressively erasing the remaining traces of Anatolia’s Christian heritage. In 2020, Turkey converted multiple historic Christian holy sites into mosques. Turkey continues to occupy northern Cyprus, while supporting jihadist militias in northern Syria, who have committed ethnic cleansing against Christians, Kurds, and Yazidis. Turkey also exported these same militias to Azerbaijan to commit war crimes against an ancient Armenian Christian community dating back to the first century. As Turkey continues to violate human rights in the region, it also poses a national security threat to the U.S. and NATO. The U.S. must address these pressing concerns.

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IDC Roundtable Conversation on Pope Francis’s Visit to Iraq

Event happened on Thursday, March 4, 2021

On the eve of Pope Francis’s historic visit to Iraq, IDC hosted a roundtable conversation on the importance of the trip.

IDC Policy Briefing on Lebanon: The U.S. Needs a Better Lebanon Policy

Event happened on Friday, February 19, 2021

Lebanon is on the verge of becoming a failed state and many are concerned it
could implode into a civil war. On top of a crisis in governance, it is facing a humanitarian crisis. How should the U.S. respond to threats that Iran and Hezbollah pose to Lebanon’s security? How should the U.S. respond to Turkey’s incursions into Lebanon? How should the U.S. pressure the Lebanese government to reform while also providing humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people? Our experts will address these questions as they call for the Biden Administration and Congress to clarify U.S. key objectives in Lebanon.

IDC Policy Briefing on Egypt: Egypt Must Confront Christian Persecution

Event happened on Friday, January 15, 2021

Raising awareness about Christian persecution in Egypt, particularly featuring the
injustices faced by Souad Thabet, Ramy Kamel, and other Coptic Christians. Reviewing the work of the previous Administration and Congress relating to Egypt and providing
recommendations for the new Congress and Administration to tackle the same challenges.

IDC Policy Briefing on Turkish Aggression in Iraq and Syria

Event happened on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
Commissioner Nadine Maezna and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Resident Scholar Michael Rubin have each recently returned from fact-finding visits to Syria and Iraq. Their findings are consistent: Turkey’s increasing political-military aggression poses an unprecedented threat to the existence of Christians and other ethno-religious minorities in the region. The panel, which includes Commissioner Maenza and Dr. Rubin, will share their findings and expert analysis. Mr. Kino Gabriel, the official spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syriac Military
Council (MFS) will provide ground-level perspective.

IDC Panel: Save Lebanon and Stop Turkey: How to Support Middle Eastern Christians in 2021

Event happened on Friday, November 20, 2020

Turkey and Lebanon are currently among the two most critical flashpoints for
Christians in the Middle East. Lebanon is the last free bastion of Christianity in the Middle East, and is teetering on economic, social, and political collapse. Turkey is an active and aggressive persecutor of Christians domestically, and across the region. The event’s panel of experts will offer assessments on the US Government’s response to: 1) the Erdogan government’s persecution of Christians in Turkey and across the Middle East, and 2) the ongoing political instability in Lebanon, culminating in the August 4th
explosion in Beirut. In addition to analysis, our panel of experts will provide recommendations on how the US administration, and Congress, can tackle both of these challenges in 2021 and beyond.