Some 80 Assyrian Christian families have returned to southeastern Turkey, a region they fled for Europe in the 1980s when caught by clashes between the Turkish government and Kurdish separatists. They have been assured protection by the conservative Islamic government of Turkey and the return of land confiscated from the 1,200-year-old Mor Gabriel Monastery, revered by Assyrian Christians around the world. However, life for these Assyrian Christians is still difficult. They are not permitted to have their own seminaries, and they complain about legal and bureaucratic harassment. Between 600,000 and 700,000 Assyrians lived in Turkey prior to the 20th century. Many of them were killed as a result of ethnic cleansing in the last throes of the Ottoman Empire (Christian Science Monitor, October 30).