Unidentified assailants vandalize graves in Greek Orthodox cemetery

Several grave stones in a Greek Orthodox cemetery in the Aegean island of Gökçeada were vandalized on the night of Oct. 28, according to a press release sent to Today’s Zaman by the Foreign Ministry.

The release added that the incident was made public upon a criminal complaint filed at a prosecutor’s office by the Gökçeada Municipality. An immediate investigation was launched into the incident. Efforts are ongoing to catch the perpetrators of the attack.

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Violations of international human rights standards on freedom of religion in Turkey

Otmar Oehring and Güzide Ceyhan

Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council May 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Turkey, Forum 18 News Service has found that the country continues to see serious violations of international human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief.

A long-standing crucially important issue, with many implications, is that Turkey has not legally recognised religious communities in their own right as independent communities with full legal status – such as the right to own places of worship and the legal protection religious communities normally have in states under the rule of law. Additionally, the most dangerous threat to individuals exercising freedom of religion or belief has been a series of violent attacks and murders on those perceived as threats; in recent years the victims have been Christians. Turkish citizens have argued to Forum 18 that the protection of the right of all to freedom of religion or belief, as laid down in the international human rights standards which Turkey is party to, should be the standard used by the authorities in all affected fields. They also argue that the authorities act against the intolerance fuelling violent attacks and murders.

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Turkish Military Planned Attacks on Christians

Senior Turkish military officers had made extensive plans to terrorize non-Muslims in Turkey. In the large Ergenekon1 scandal recently a well-planned terrorist operation was revealed. The operation which is called «Kafes Operasyonu Eylem Plani», in English meaning «the execution of the cage – operation» was to eliminate the remaining small group of Christians living in Turkey today.

The plan was revealed when police arrested Levent Bektas, a major in the Turkish army. The evidence seized reveals more than 27 officers and senior military officers involved in the conspiracy against Christians.

In order to identify key persons among the Christians and then kill them, this terrorist network has broken into a Greek church congregation compound and stolen computers. The purpose of this was to access the congregation’s member lists.

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Hauser von Christen in Istanbul gekennzeichnet (Γερμανικά, German)

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Is the ecumenical patriarchate in Turkey waiting for Godot?

patriarchate

Since the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power in 2002, the reopening of the Halki Seminary has repeatedly returned to the political agenda in Turkey.

There is almost a pattern. Some government officials say, “There is no harm in reopening the school [which was closed down in 1971], and there are some preparations taking place to that effect.” If you read these statements you can get the (wrong) impression that there is only technical work needing to be done, and the government is working on it. For the last seven years, we have heard exactly the same story. But, in the end, nothing comes out. Why? 

Because the Halki Seminary is only a part of a much more complex question that may not be well appreciated even by the government itself. The question is namely the existence of the ecumenical patriarchate in Turkey. There is a deep-rooted state policy that has brought the patriarchate to the verge of total extinction. This policy was shaped during the late Ottoman and early republican era and has been applied vigorously since then. This is a policy of taking gradual steps to push this historical institution into a corner to force it to choose one of the two options: Either it will stay in Turkey and will lose everything slowly and painfully, or it will leave Turkey once and for all. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Why the deep state targets Christians

by ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ

Father Andrea Santoro, a Catholic priest, was killed in Trabzon in 2006. No one realized then that this was the beginning of a pattern. The militant nationalist who killed Santoro was just 17 years old. The Santoro case was completed with lightning speed.

The youngster was sentenced, but nothing was revealed. Then, in 2007, Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian and a liberal journalist, was shot dead in front his newspaper, Agos, by another militant nationalist, who was again a 17-year-old boy from Trabzon. Three months after Dink’s murder, three missionaries were brutally killed in Malatya. After the Malatya massacre there were many other attacks and murder attempts targeting Christians once again. A Catholic priest was stabbed in the stomach during a service at a Catholic church in İzmir. In Samsun, Diyarbakır and Antalya, other murder attempts were prevented by successful operations by the police.  Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »