The book entitled “Umudun Peşinde” (Pursuing Hope) which was translated and edited by Buğra Poyraz, was presented at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in the Galata district of Istanbul. The presentation of the book which was published by the Bible Society in Turkey lasted about one and a half hours.
Before the event, the Turkish and English editions of the book were distributed to the guests, including the Patriarchal Vicar of the Syriac Catholic Church of Turkey, Monsignor Orhan Çanlı and researchers.
The event started at 19.00 with a speech by Buğra Poyraz.
Poyraz stated: “For many long years, Turkey has served as a bridge for Christian immigrants eternally leaving the Middle East. In 1991 the war that broke out in the Gulf as well as the armed conflicts of the early years in the second millennium have led to an increase of this migrative movement. Those Christian refugees who reach Turkey eventually migrate to Christian countries after staying here for a certain period of time and gaining for themselves asylum status through the United Nations and some consulate offices. Today the asylum politics carried out through our country’s great sacrifice and feelings of hospitality, have been increased by the aid and social activities of many churches in order to further help these immigrants and refugees including not only aid activities toward those of any particular religious group, but benefitting all who share the same pain and longing.
The book in your hands is comprised of the memories of twenty Iraqi Christian immigrants and refugees almost all of whom lived in or still live in Turkey. These people were not able to freely leave the cities that they have been assigned to in our country, so a few young people made a request of the Arabic-speaking clergy that visited them from time to time in these cities. They wanted their stories to be published, so that they could describe their sorrowful experiences to the people of Turkey, whose language they do not speak. As you see, this endeavor really belongs to the young Iraqi Christian refugees. These young people reported what you are about to read in Arabic and then tried to convey their thoughts by transferring them to English before they made their request. We then took these notes and translated them into Turkish and prepared them for publication. The life stories you are about to read in this text are true. The place names in the text are real, although the personal names have been changed for purposes of security and personal privacy.”
Then Monsignor Orhan Çanlı pointed out that migration is, a general problem that concerns the whole world, not only Christians. “Everyone needs to be sensitive about this. As a clergyman, I began to deal with refugees since my ordination. But what we can do as a Church is very limited. When we saw that people were in a difficult situation, we tried to do our best. I feel like I got old for 10-15 years since 2014” said Monsignor Çanlı. (SAT-7 TÜRK) (E.Ç.)