Rescuing and serving persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Assyrian Church Bell Tower in Turkey Threatened in Retaliation for Swiss Minaret Ban

By Dan Wooding

12/9/2009 Turkey (ANS) – Following the referendum banning minarets in Switzerland, three persons visiting the 1,750 year old Assyrian [also known as Chaldean and Syriac] Church of Virgin Mary in Diyarbakir allegedly threatened priest Yusuf Akbulut by saying “Switzerland is banning minarets and we will ban bell towers. You will demolish the bell tower.”

The story stated that Fr. Akbulut informed the police that three persons visited the church, located in the Alipasa neighborhood of Sur District, last Friday and demanded the demolition of the bell towers by next Friday. Fr. Akbulut, the priest of the church whose internal and external security is being provided by the police, made the following statement:

“When I told them that this was a historic church with an ancient bell tower and that the foundations (directorate) and the State would react, they said for the second time, ‘Go and complain to whoever you want. This bell tower will not remain here, we will take the necessary action’ and left. Then I filed a complaint with the police. Now the police are seeking the three persons who threatened me by checking the camera records.”

Noting that five families reside in the church and nearly ten other Christian families in the city centre of Diyarbakir, Fr. Akbulut said, “As the Assyrian community, for centuries we led a peaceful life with the other people residing on these territories. We never did any harm to anyone. It is very wrong to hold us accountable for the minaret ban in Switzerland.”

[Full Story]