Church leaders request prayer after the killing of Tuncer Cihan by two extremists at Santa Maria Catholic Church in Büyükdere, Istanbul.

On Sunday 28 January at around 11:40 a.m., two masked gunmen entered Santa Maria church during mass  At first firing shots into the air they then shot Tuncer, a regular visitor to the church since December. 

Turkish authorities responded quickly, arresting two suspects late on Sunday night. According to a statement by the Interior Ministry, those apprehended are a Russian and a Tajik national, affiliated to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group. Amaq, the Arabic IS news agency, stated that the attack was carried out in response to a call from IS leaders to target Jews and Christians.

Condolences have been expressed by many Turkish officials, including President Erdoğan, who personally called the officiating priest of Santa Maria, Fr. Anton Bulai.

Leaders in the Catholic community in Istanbul are thankful that the authorities responded swiftly and expressed sincere condolences. Prayer is requested that fear will not prevail among the congregation, that the Christian community in Türkiye will be strengthened and respond in unity and that the God of all comfort will console the family and friends of Tuncer.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email