Christians in Turkey 'fearful' after knife-wielding men terrorize Istanbul church
A recent attack against a church in Istanbul has raised the fears of the Christian community in Turkey, a leading member of the countryâs Syriac community said in a statement on June 27.
The statement from DoÄan YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m was prompted after a group of eight unidentified men recently entered a Latin Catholic Church in Istanbulâs YeÅilkÃ¶y neighborhood during a baptism ceremony, allegedly harassing the congregation.
âI approached the group after they left the church, but they insulted me. One of them swung a knife towards me before I stepped back,â said YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m, an aide at the YeÅilkÃ¶y church.
The total population of Turkeyâs Orthodox Syriac is around 15,000, most of whom live in Istanbul.
YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m added that this was not the first attack that has occurred recently. âA group of three or four people entered the church in May when there was no one around, and scattered burning candles everywhere. People intervened after they noticed the smoke," he said.
Kenan GÃ¼rdal, the vice president of the BeyoÄlu Syriac Meryem Ana Church Foundation, said the congregation was "disturbed" by the attacks.
"Less people have been attending mass since the latest attacks," GÃ¼rdal noted. "They fear coming to the church."
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