Syriac Christian elected in Turkey after 50 years

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4951702.jpgSupporters of Turkey’s ruling party the Justice and Development Party (AKP) celebrate with party flags after the first results of the parliamentary election in front of party headquarters in Ankara on June 12, 2011. A Syriac Christian has been elected to Turkey’s new parliament, not seen in the overwhelmingly Muslim country for 50 years, it was reported Monday.Photograph by: Adem Altan, AFP/Getty ImagesANKARA – A Syriac Christian has been elected to Turkey’s new parliament, not seen in the overwhelmingly Muslim country for 50 years, it was reported Monday.

Erol Dora, 47, is a member of the orthodox Syriac Church and part of a small community also known as Assyrians based in Mardin in southern Turkey.

Elected as an independent, Dora was nevertheless backed by the main pro-Kurd group the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Sunday’s vote.

The sole Christian member of parliament, dominated once again by the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), has committed himself to being a voice for the country’s Christians.

After his election Dora called on the European Union to welcome Turkey as a member and show that it is not a “Christian club”, the Cihan news agency reported.

Turkey is home to Armenian Christians and members of the Greek Orthodox Church as well as Syriacs.

The country has seen a number of attacks against Christian communities in recent years.

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