ICC Note: Heres more on the Church attack in Turkey that we reported on yesterday.
Church Stoned and Damaged in Northern Turkey
By Michael Ireland
(ANS) — A Protestant church in the Turkish Black Sea Port city of Samsun was damaged by unknown assailants on Sunday, January 28.
Salem Voice Ministries News Service says the attackers stoned the two-story Samsun Agape House church building overnight and broke more than 10 windows.
“The attack was the latest against Christians in this predominantly Muslim country,” Pastor Mehmet Orhan Picaklar, the priest of the Samsun Agape House told SVM News Service.
“There were no casualties, but this makes damage to Turkey . This attack depicts Turkey in a bad way before international public opinion,” he said.
“It is the seventh or eight such attack over the past three years. Separately, I am constantly receiving death threats by e-mail” Picaklar said.
Picaklar said the church had moved into the building just two weeks ago. Uniformed police officers were deployed outside the church after the attack, according to the private Dogan news agency.
The attack came nine days after a Turkish-Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, was gunned down outside his office in Istanbul on January 19, provoking widespread condemnation.
SVM News Service says that Nationalists have been angered by pro-Armenian sentiment in Turkey following responses to the murder of Hrant Dink. He was among those, including church groups, who have tried to speak out about the 1915 Armenian genocide, which claimed one million lives. It is illegal in Turkish law to raise this issue, and the authorities deny that the event happened.
A rise in nationalism among young people from Turkey ‘s Black Sea towns has come under the spotlight since the teenager suspected of killing Hrant Dink and his alleged supporters were found to have come from the town of Trabzon , the news service reported.
Last February, Rev. Andrea Santoro, a Catholic Priest, was shot dead by a Turkish teenager, as he knelt in prayer in his church in the Black Sea port of Trabzon . The attack was believed linked to widespread anger in the Islamic world over the publication in European newspapers of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Two other Catholic priests were also attacked last year.
SVM News Service says that of Turkey ‘s 72 million people, Armenians, Greeks, Syriacs, Catholics, some Protestants — who are mostly converted from Islam and Judaism — make up less than one percent of the country.
The country, now 99 per cent Muslim, has a significant Christian history going back two millennia.
“After Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem , his followers scattered across the ancient world. What is now called Turkey was a key crossroads between Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and the fledgling Christian faith took hold in what was then a Roman province with a rich Greek heritage,” the news service states.