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Syrian pastor sceptical of Erdogan’s promise to Christians

29 November 2019

Pastor Samuel* has seen many Christians flee north east Syria, where he lives. And he isn’t convinced by the promise that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently made to Syrian believers.

Speaking to media at the White House in mid-November, while visiting US president Donald Trump, Erdogan promised to help Syria’s Christians rebuild their churches ‘so that they will be able to return to their lands and start praying there again’, and stated that plans were in place. But Pastor Samuel doesn’t believe Erdogan’s words match Turkey’s treatment of Christians either in Turkey or Syria: 

“In reality, you can see the massacres that the Turks have committed against Christians at different times until today, so why would he build a church while killing Christians? Why did he enter the area and destroy the churches in the first place? Even if these promises were true, why would that benefit me when he has caused everyone to leave the area?”
Many of the churches were damaged during Turkey’s military operations in north east Syria. Thanks to your gifts and support, Pastor Samuel’s church receives help through Open Doors partners in Syria and he is able to help vulnerable believers who remain in the area – but many of them have had to leave, as Samuel explains.

“Almost no Christians have remained in Tal Abyad or Ras Al-Ain on the border with Turkey,” he says. “What would the churches or cathedrals do if the people have fled, were killed or became homeless after their houses were destroyed? The president’s statement comes as a drug to numb the feelings of Christians against Turkey.”

Syria is currently number 11 on the Open Doors World Watch List. Your gifts and prayers are helping Syrian Christians with immediate, essential aid, and with long-term support so that they can rebuild their lives and communities for the future. Please keeping praying and giving to support our family in Syria.

Please pray

  • That Syrian Christians will be able to stay safely in their homes – built up and not torn down; planted and not uprooted (see Jeremiah 42:10)
  • That Erdogan would be convicted to treat Christians with dignity and respect
  • That Open Doors partners working in Syria would be able to support your Syrian brothers and sisters with spiritual sustenance and vital aid.

*Name changed for security reasons


Find out more about persecution in Syria