It is reported that there were two cases of church buildings being targeted on the night of 15th July during the attempted military coup in Turkey.
In Trabzon on the Black Sea coast a group of about ten people attacked the Catholic church of Santa Maria. They used paving stones to break the church windows and an attempt was made to break into the church building using hammers. Muslim neighbours intervened, drove the perpetrators away and contacted the priest.
Santa Maria Church is the place where Catholic priest Fr Andrea Santoro was murdered on 5th February 2006.
In Malatya unidentified people tried to break the windows of Malatya Protestant Church and succeeded in breaking the glass panels in the door. The pastor Tim Stone believes it was just someone with a grudge against the church taking advantage of the general unrest.
Malatya is the place where three Christian workers were brutally murdered on 18th April 2007.
Religious leaders, including the Director of Religious Affairs Mehmet Görmez, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, the Chief Rabbi Rav Izak Haleva, the acting Armenian Patriarch Aram Ateşyan, Assyrian Orthodox Metropolitan Yusuf Çetin and Assyrian Catholic acting Patriarch Yusuf Sağ, issued a joint declaration condemning the coup and the bloodshed it involved and calling for love, peace and justice to reign in Turkey.
The Association Of Turkish Protestant Churches (TeK) also issued a press statement condemning the coup, asking for wisdom and understanding for the country’s leaders, and praying for peace.
MAY BE CIRCULATED TO GENERAL MAILING LISTS, OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS, AND QUOTED FROM FREELY IN REPORTS CITING “MIDDLE EAST CONCERN” AS THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION.
Please thank the Lord for the apparent restored calm and security in Turkey and pray:
a. for the protection of the small Christian community in Turkey, and that those extremists intent on harm and causing damage will be stopped, as they were in Trabzon
b. that state officials will be diligent in protecting Christians and church property, and will seek to apprehend perpetrators and bring them to justice
c. that overall security will be maintained in Turkey, and that state officials will respond wisely and appropriately to the crisis