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17 April 2014, Thursday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

Attack on Protestant pastor on eve of Easter draws condemnation

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SEMIR SERKEK, THE PASTOR OF PRESBYTERIAN GRACE CHURCH IN İSTANBUL, WAS ATTACKED ON SATURDAY, RIGHT BEFORE EASTER, BY A GROUP OF YOUNG TURKISH MEN. (PHOTO: CIHAN)
10 April 2012, Tuesday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
An attack on a Protestant pastor by a group of angry young Turkish men over the weekend was condemned by the country’s Protestant and Muslim communities.

Semir Serkek, the pastor of Presbyterian Grace Church in İstanbul’s Bahçelievler district, told police on Monday that assailants broke into the church late on Saturday. “They asked me how on earth could there be a Christian church in a Muslim neighborhood. They forced me to recite kalima-i shahadah [the Muslim proclamation of faith] or [they said] they would kill me. When I told them to be respectful, one of them kicked me in the chest. Then, they fled, vowing to kill me,” Serkek, 58, told the private Cihan news agency.

The incident, which occurred one day before Easter Sunday -- a major holiday in the Christian world -- was condemned by Turkey’s Protestant community. Umut Şahin, the secretary-general of the Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey, said on his Twitter account on Monday that he condemns “the mentality that raised a hand against an old man and that wanted to sour our holiday.”

Religious Affairs Directorate head Mehmet Görmez also called Serkek on Monday to express his sadness over the incident. Görmez, who was in Denmark attending an event celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, wished the pastor a speedy recovery.

Edirne governor excludes Orthodox priest

In related news on Turkey’s treatment of its non-Muslim minorities, Edirne Governor Gökhan Sözer ordered the exclusion of Aleksandır Çıkırık, the priest of a Bulgarian Orthodox church in Edirne, from a circle of officials holding hands as part of a gathering to attract attention to the deterioration of Edirne’s Selimiye Mosque, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On Monday, about 1,000 people gathered demanding that authorities address the problems faced by the mosque in Edirne’s Selimiye Square. People started holding hands to form a human chain, but Governor Sözer refused to hold the hand of Çıkırık, saying, “Are they doing this with our muftis and imams in Bulgaria?”

Garo Paylan, a representative of Turkey’s Armenian community, was quoted by the Radikal daily as saying that the attitude of the state toward non-Muslims displayed by the government has been in place for centuries. “Unfortunately, in this country the state turns everyone else into ‘the other,’ while it constructs the Turkish identity. This is why Hrants [referring to Hrant Dink, Turkish-Armenian journalist assassinated in 2007] are killed in this country. If a mufti or imam is not included on a protocol list in Bulgaria, that is a shame on that country. Turkey shouldn’t participate in the same shame by doing the same thing.”

Çıkırık later told journalists: “We gathered here on this day for peace and brotherhood. Please let’s not emphasize such incidents on a day like this,” when asked about his opinions of the governor’s attitude.

 
 
COMMENTS
If some one wants some info just google..
SwedeshTurk
Yes there are riots in Britian many of them carried out by people from different religion and heritage but all with the common factor of deprivations. There is the BNP and EDL who are scorned and feared by the majority of citizens as thugs. There are also fanatics and bigots of other more recent cit...
No True Anyone but a rich mix of human history
@BBBB some among, are pastors/priests, some teachers, some apostoles, some prophets, all for one good purpose = Rom. 12. Thank you bunch!
Spread(ing) peace
@rebecca. I think that you are the one that is either "blind" to what is going on around you or you have become so Anglicised that you choose to ignore what's going. Have you heard of the Bradford, Brixton, Oldham, Toxteth, Tottenham, Birmingham riots? Have you heard of the BNP and EDL? Incidentally...
True Turk
\ This should not be an issue of religion. It must be an issue of wickedness. Islam is unrelated with such acts. How can a religious leader beg you to be respectful and decide to hurt him? Those are acts of people who have no faith. There are common in many countries where both Muslims and Christian...
Issa kirarira
It is a very sad day when we can't just learn from history and agree to disagree and then get along and live our lives. DUTCH TURK These kind of crimes have not been caused by the AKP, BUT they have been on the rise since they were in power because the backward people think that they are carrying ...
Me
I would advise the pastor to establish if there was any CCTV coverage in the neighborhood that could be used to identify his attackers. He could also install a CCTV system in and around the church. In all likelihood the group is part of some organization or other. The state probably know who they ar...
tehlikeli yabanci
First, the xenophobic paranoia is nothing new in Turkey. It is pre-planned and deeply rooted in its society. It started ever since its nomadic ancestors arrived from the Far East corners of Central Asia on their horsebacks yielding their swords. This ideology has been nurtured and engraved in the mi...
Ararat
Swedish Turk. Can you please provide the name of the killer who has killed Muslims in 2012 and in which town this is supposed to have taken place. I have never heard about such person how has killed half a dozen Muslims between 2010-2012. Please provide more facts, because what you say is simply not...
Angry Swede
@DutchTurk If you care to read my original post carefully I didn't make any comment about 'all Turks are...'. I said that due my and others around me's experiences I chose to live elsewhere. And FYI I am also Turkish :-)
Rebecca
@True Turk, would you care to substantiate your claims about the UK with urls/links please? I also live in the UK, have a large number of Muslim friends and have not heard of one such attack on a mosque or Muslim home. The UK is a country which has shariah law for those who want to use it so I would...
Rebecca
not much change then.....Turkey the same old chesnut and these are her 21st century youth....My what an apt nation to join the EU!
Djoghk
Those kind of jerks are to be found allmost everywhere in the world. The question is why the system in Turkey (and elsewhere) is tolerating those rascists/fascists. The answer is simple: Turkish and similar societies are based upon nationalism and religious cleansing. Its very difficult for these sy...
hermes
to all the Turkey detractors, one word: Breivik. I rest my case.
Volkan
Islam does not allow injustice. If the AKP is pious, then it should find these events unacceptable. If we are truly Muslims, then why don't we restore justice? Investigate the evidence, identify and punish the perpetrators. If we remain inactive, we WILL without doubt be held accountable by Allah fo...
Friend of Turks
Rebecca. I am afraid you will not hear anything intelligent from DutchTurk. He gets his world view formed at a coffee shop only visited by immigrant males living on dutch well fare money. There they sit all days dreaming about a Turkey that does not exist and foster further hate against the west. Mo...
little
no Turk or Turkish organization appears to condemn these actions (so silently condones and encourages them) - the Religious Affairs Directorate 'expresses sadness' and hopes for a 'speedy recovery' and the racist stance of some Turks here are so childish innocent that it is clear that they honestly...
tommy
I can't believe how some just make this case a thing which is happening in a Islamic country. Here in Sweden we have had tow local serial killer in Malmö between 2010-2012 who just killed muslims around the city. After half a dozen killed they got one and the other one is still doing his/her thing. ...
SwedishTurk
@Rebecca, O0oo Rebecca, you that intelligent you can generalize terrific. Your also that smart not to get my critics, you can criticize those people committing the crime, but you can't generalize it to everyone, that's not only the case in Turkey, but also in which cave you live in now. The disease ...
DutchTurk
I live in the UK and read almost every day of another petrol attack on a Muslim home or a Muslim person abused or attacked. Mosque windows and doors are protected by thick wire mesh and steel bars to ward off attack. I won't bother to mention the obscene graffiti that is daubed on the walls of these...
True Turk
To the author, Orthodox and Catholic Churches do not have pastors. We have priests. Thank you.
BBBB
@Likbet, the ultra Bulgarian nationalist group is not from long time ago, it is at present day Bulgaria. They are known as Shaved Heads, because their ideology is as Nazi's Germany - past and present. Recommendation to you Likbert: Go visit Bulgaria and let's talk after.Let's stop defending one grou...
Spread(ing) peace
@Dutch,You are fascinated by aircrafts and racism. The shave heads are ultra Bulgarian nationalists, they are the type of Nazi's in Germany. My question to you is this: Do you approve those groups? If not, please strive and spread peace, without justifing such as unacceptable behaviour from none. Vi...
spread(ing) peace
Oh dear @DutchTurk, you have the dreaded 'I-can't-bear-to-hear-anything-negative-uttered about-my-country' disease. No point waiting for an intelligent commentary from you then...
Rebecca
To all posters here: If you want to read a real brilliant piece on Islamophobia and why Islam is not so innocent about it (quite in contrary to any other current religion), go to Hurriyet english and read Burak Bekdils "How best to fight Islamophobia"!
migo
Same old excuses out of Turk apologists-everytime another anti-Christian incident happens in Turkey they proclaim similar anti-Moslem incidents in europe as some sort of excuse. In point of fact NOWHERE in europe has anti-Moslem bigotry been anywhere near the history of anti-Christian bigotry in Tur...
Yitzhak
The same old nonsense in Turkey. These thugs take their cue from the government, which has dragged it's feet on embracing Christianity in general. The continued closure of Halki Seminary is but one example. The Turkish government can't wash it's hands of it's complicity in encouraging the most extre...
Christoph
Christians attacked in Turkey? No way!! In other news, the sun will set tonite, and rise tomorrow morning.
Gavur
@Likbet Actually nobody care about whether Merkel apologized or not, germany gave minimum prison sententences to neonazis who attack turks on the contrary the turks who attack christians got maximum prison sentences in Turkey
cemil32
@Likbet Actually nobody care about whether Merkel apologized or not, germany gave minimum prison sententences to neonazis who attack turks on the contrary the turks who attack christians got maximum prison sentences in Turkey
cemil32
@Likbet, look there is a difference between condemnation and generalization claiming that all Turks are against Christians, don't you see that? I condemn it, i hope the ones will be arrested. But how insane would it be me claiming that all Bulgarians are racist and Islamofobic nation. @Rebecca, btw ...
DutchTurk
DutchTurk. You very briefly condemn the even, but then INSTEAD YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT AN EVEN LONG AGO IN BULGARIA? OK, THAT SHOWS HOW SERIOUSLY YOU TAKE THIS...........Is that the responce you would have liked from Angela Merckel when it turned out that Turks were killed in Germany, a statement say...
Likbet
nothing new from the mullahrepublic of turkey
steve
What does it take to come to grips with reality? More of these attacks? Non-Muslims are not welcome in Turkey, regardless of Davutoglu's and Gul's gibberish; this attack shows it. There is absolutely no reason for Gavur like us to continue living in Turkey and inadvertently supporting the myth th...
Jack Kalpakian
This is just a foretaste for what will be when the ruling AKP implented the new education system, which will include a compulsory Quran Course. The "Imam Ordusu" will soon get real!
Hakan
People are quick to point out Islamophobia but what about the Christianophobia which is rife in the Muslim countries, Turkey included. Shame!
Baris
Expressing sadness will not do. Change the inflammatory texts in the history and religious text books. As long as Christians are presented as enemies of the state, things like these will occur again and again. Time for Turkey to face the fact of Christianophobia.
erol
I condemn this attack, @Rebecca, these type of attacks happen everywhere, don't you remember the mosque in Bulgaria attacked during prayer by skin heads? Get real, STOP TREATING EVERYONE THE SAME, BECAUSE OF A COUPLE PEOPLES ACTS and please never return back to TURKIYE. None needs a actor like you i...
DutchTurk
People inthe West know that the days of all christians in all muslim countries are numbered, no matter what the facade. Erdogan and Gul cannot show such colours for obvious reasons, but the end game is clear. Has it not ocurred to anyone that by Joining the EU, Turkey could beome a beachead for pou...
bill
Oh no not again!!! I left Turkey because of anti-Christian harrassment both against me and people I know...
Rebecca
Shameful and disgusting! Typical of AKP influenced youth in todays 'modern' Turkiye!So if the same happens to a Imam in say Germany and only a weak apology is offered by some minor minister, will the Sultan stand there and take it? I doubt that very much. I am non-religious but defend anyone's right...
The Prisoner
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