07 January 2018
A 19th century church built by the Bulgarian community in Istanbul, Seveti Stefan, also known as the Iron Church opens following a seven-year restoration co-funded by Turkey and Bulgaria.
13 May 2017
The obstacle to the reconstruction of Camp Armen (Tuzla Armenian Orphanage), where assassinated Armenian journalist Hrant Dink also stayed, is lifted. It is announced that the demolished camp building will be reconstructed and protected.
01 May 2016
Assyrian citizens celebrated Easter in the Idil district of the southeastern city of Sirnak. Citizens attended the service in the Church of Virgin Mary which is believed to have been constructed in the seventh century.
24 April 2016
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a written message to Armenian Archbishop Aram Atesyan on the occasion of a ceremony held in the Kumkapi Virgin Mary Church of Armenian Patriarchate to commemorate the 1915 events. President Erdogan offered his condolences to the relatives of the Ottoman Armenian victims of the events. The letter is published both in Turkish and Armenian.
15 March 2016
In Ankara, the “Canakkale WWI and Ottoman Jews Exhibition” is held to commemorate the 78 Ottoman Jews who died while serving in the military between the years 1914-18.
24 February 2016
The second commemorative ceremony is held in Turkey on the anniversary of the sinking of the “Struma” ship which was carrying 768 Jews who fled from the Holocaust during the WWII. The ceremony is attended by Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva, Turkish Jewish Community Chairman Ishak Ibrahimzadeh and Governor of Istanbul Vasip Sahin.
14 February 2016
The National Assembly of Turkey Planning and Budget Commission gives a break between 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. for Christian deputies to attend Sunday Mass.
10 February 2016
For the first time in 100 years a service takes place in Hagia Haralambos Church which was transformed into a cultural center following its restoration in 2012. The service was led by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I.
07 January 2016
The Istipol Synagogue, a unique wooden synagogue in Istanbul, is opened to worship for the first time in 65 years.
06 January 2016
The Theophany, lastly celebrated in 1922 before the foundation of modern Turkey, is held in Izmir after 94 years. The ceremony was attended by members of the Izmir Greek Orthodox community, Greek Consul General Mr Theodore Tsakiris, the Catholic Archbishop, Greek deputies, Greeks and locals in the city of Izmir.
13 November 2015
The Jewish community celebrated Hanukkah publicly for the first time in Turkey. Lit-candles were put on a stage set in Ortakoy Square in Istanbul. An elderly man, celebrating Hanukkah in the square, was heard saying: “I am 70 years old. We are witnessing such an event for the first time. We are so excited and happy.”
07 November 2015
After 60 years, the Mardin Protestant Church is reopened with Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic and Syriac prayers and hymns.
04 November 2015
Following the opening of the Syriac Language and Culture graduate department in Mardin Artuklu University, preparations for the Syriac Language and Literature undergraduate department begin with plans to enroll students in 2016. The next stage will be opening a department of Armenian Language and Literature, and Hebrew Language and Literature.
29 October 2015
The Court of Cassation approved the returning of a land that belongs to Deyrulzafaran Monastery. The monastery, which is one of the most important centers for Christians, had been taken over by the Treasury in 2006.
27 October 2015
The symbol of the Armenian community, Camp Armen was returned to the Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church Foundation on 27 October 2015 after amendments made in the Foundation Law and initiatives of the AK Party Istanbul Deputy Markar Esayan.
28 September 2015
After 40 years, Gokceada Greek Elementary School and high school begin to enroll students. Three students enroll in the primary level, five in the elementary level and six in the high school. Yorgo Zarbozan, who lives in the district of Tepekoy, says: “All our ancestors were here, there is 4,000 years of our history on this island. Today is the happiest day for us.”
26 March 2015
Europe’s second and the world’s third largest synagogue is restored by the General Secretary of Foundations at an expenditure of 5.75 million Turkish liras ($2.2 million). Many Jewish people attend the opening ceremony.
12 February 2015
For the first time an Assyrian village is returned its original name. Alagoz village in the southeastern city of Mardin was renamed ‘Bethkustan’.
10 December 2014
Delivering a speech in the European Parliament, Yusuf Cetin, the Metropolitan Bishop of Istanbul and Ankara Assyrian Orthodox Church, said: “We are able to contact state officials at the highest level and tell about our problems easily. We can pray with full liberty.”
09 October 2014
Minister of Education Nabi Avci announces that an elective course in Christian studies will be added to the curriculum in addition to the compulsory course of “Culture of Religion and Knowledge of Ethics” for Christian students.
15 September 2014
Turkish Assyrian citizens gain the right to open their first school after 86 years after winning a case in court over the closing of their school in 1928. The private Mor Efrem Assyrian Kindergarten started to provide education in Yesilkoy in a building rented by The Virgin Mary Church Foundation.
30 March 2014
Lute player Yervant Bostanci returns to his hometown Diyarbakir after 21 years following the appeal of the Minister of Culture and Tourism Omer Celik for him to return to his homeland,. He is hired by the Diyarbakir State Classical Music Choir, becoming the first Armenian musician to be employed in the choir.
26 February 2014
The land deeds of the Mor Gabriel Monastery, a sacred site for Syrian Christians, are handed over to to Kuryakos Ergun, Chairman of the Mor Gabriel Foundation. Ergun thanks everyone involved in the decision making process: “This remarkable decision is amazing and has made us all extremely happy. We thank Prime Minister Erdogan who played a major role in the process.”
16 September 2013
The private Gokceada Greek Elementary School is opened after 40 years and starts to provide education.
31 May 2013
Buildings that were accidentally demolished in the Armenian graveyard in the city of Malatya in February 2012 are re-built by the municipality of Malatya. The new buildings open in June 2013.
12 April 2013
A camp intended to house 4,000 Assyrians fleeing from Syria due to civil war is set up in Midyat, a province in the city of Mardin.
01 February 2013
As of February 2013, the Agos Daily, which is published both in Turkish and Armenian, is distributed in Turkish Airlines planes.
01 January 2013
A 10th grade textbook is changed after complaints that its content is discriminating against Assyrians.
01 January 2013
The Official Press Agency offers financial support to the minority newspapers that are unable to obtain and publish advertisements due to insufficient circulation.
14 December 2012
It is announced that Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality will allocate land in Yesilkoy for church construction.
04 November 2012
The largest church in the Middle East, the Diyarbakir St. Giragos Armenian Church, is opened for prayer again after 32 years, following a restoration process that lasted for two-and-a-half years.
12 September 2012
All non-citizen Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Jewish students – including the children of unregistered Armenian migrants and of Syrian Armenian refugees – are allowed to enroll in the religious schools of non-Muslim communities.
02 January 2012
A curriculum and textbook about Christianity for Christian students attending Christian schools is prepared by officials.
02 January 2012
The Buyukada Orphanage was once again granted the official status of foundation in 2012. The number of minority foundations rises to 166.
29 August 2011
With a new decree having the force of law, Turkey begins the process of the returning of properties, which were owned by non-Muslim foundations after 1936 and taken over by the Treasury in 1974.
03 February 2011
The government announced that Greek Orthodox metropolitans’ applications for Turkish citizenship will be accepted in order to enlarge the pool from which the next Patriarch will be elected. As of the end of the same year, 24 people out of 26 who applied were granted citizenship.
13 May 2010
A memorandum published by the Prime Ministry ordered “to not cause any difficulties in public offices for minorities,” “the protection of non-Muslim graveyards,” “to obey the court decisions regarding religious minorities,” “to give positions to religious minority leaders according to the protocol” and “to impose sanctions for publications provoking the hostility.”
20 February 2008
The six-month term foreseen for the applications of registering real estate properties – which are determined to belong to non-Muslim community foundations – is increased to 18 months. Billions of liras worth of real estate properties were registered in the name of non-Muslim foundations.
29 March 2007
Neglected for decades, the Akdamar Church is renovated between 2005-2007 under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in a step towards enhancing the relationships between the Armenian minority of Turkey and Armenia at an expenditure of 4 million dollars.