Washington, DC: In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in Africa and the Middle East, calls on Members of Congress to resign from the U.S.-Turkey Caucus. IDC also calls on newly elected officials to decline invitations to join the caucus.
2020 witnessed a series of antagonistic policies directed both towards Middle Eastern Christians and the United States by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Republic of Turkey. In December, Turkey was sanctioned for its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system. Turkey and Turkish backed militias also attacked historic Christian communities in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), Iraq, and Syria. Domestically, Erdoğan also mandated the erasure of Christian historic sites from Anatolia by calling for the conversion of the Hagia Sophia, once Christianity’s largest cathedral, and the Chora Church into mosques.
“Turkey’s reckless foreign policy clearly runs counter to U.S. interests in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini. “Its outright persecution of Christians can no longer be ignored. It is time for our elected officials to send an unmistakable message to the Turkish Embassy that they will not allow their names and headshots to be exploited to promote Erdoğan’s reckless leadership.”