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02/18/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  A Christian woman who passed away last month has had her grave desecrated and the wooden cross placed over it burned. She was a member of the Santa Maria Catholic Church in Trabzon, the same church whose priest Father Andrea Santoro was martyred in 2006. The desecration comes weeks after her burial mid-January, when a small group tried to prevent the funeral.

The Trabzon police are currently investigating the matter. Initial evidence suggests that a man with a dog, who was also intimidating nearby children, had removed the cross and burned it. The husband of the woman, Veysel Çolak, has expressed his intentions to carry this case through the court system.

Christian graves are often targeted in Turkey, and the Christians of Trabzon have frequently been subjected to a number of incidents. The murder of Father Santoro fourteen years ago was an incident that shocked the country, as it stood out as a rare example of violent Christian persecution in Turkey within the last two decades. However, for locals, it was an incident foreshadowed. This area has a reputation of harboring extremist ideals, an environment which has worsened under the leadership of President Erdogan, who is from this region of Turkey.

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