Turkey v. the Church

Turkey v. the Church August 5, 2016

Turkey’s Muslims have used the failed coup attempt last month as an excuse to attack churches. According to a report by Marco Giannengeli in the Express, on the night of the coup “Muslim Sunnis, whipped up to a frenzy, targeted Turkey’s Christian community. In Matalya, a sprawling city in Anatolia, once the heartland of Christianity in the East, they targeted a Protestant church.”

Giannengeli continues: “A year earlier Father Andrea Santoro, a 61-year-old Roman Catholic priest, was murdered in the Santa Maria Church. Father Santoro was shot from behind while kneeling in prayer in the church. Witnesses heard the murderer, aged 16, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar.’”

The suppression of the church is normal Turkish policy: “despite a tolerant constitution, Protestants are not allowed to build churches in Turkey. Even the name church must be coupled to the non-threatening ‘association.’”

And it has been effective: “Turkey, which once boasted two million Christians, has barely 120,000 now, fewer even than Iran.”

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