The Turkish government has seized the last remaining Christian churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir and declared them as state property. World Watch Monitor reports that the administration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has expropriated sections of property throughout Diyarbakir on the grounds that it will rebuild and restore the historical center of the city following 10 months of urban conflict.

Included in seizures are Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches. But now, the churches, one of which is over 1,700 years old, effectively become state property in a country where about 98 percent of the population is Muslim.  The expropriation order came on March 25 and was issued by Erdoğan’s council of ministers. FULL REPORT