Christians pay price as Turkey turns to Islam after attempted coup, by Marco Giannengeli.
[The night of the coup] presented different opportunities as hardline Muslim Sunnis, whipped up to a frenzy, targeted Turkey’s Christian community.
In Matalya, a sprawling city in Anatolia, once the heartland of Christianity in the East, they targeted a Protestant church. … Gangs chanting “Allahu akbar” rounded on it to smash its glass frontage. “The attack on the church was light. But it’s significant that it was the only shopfront attack in those three days,” said its minister, Pastor Tim Stone, last night. “We were the only targets.”
In the Black Sea city of Trabzon others attacked the Santa Maria church, smashing windows and using hammers to break down its door. …
A year earlier Father Andrea Santoro, a 61-year-old Roman Catholic priest, was murdered in the Santa Maria Church. Father Santoro was shot from behind while kneeling in prayer in the church. Witnesses heard the murderer, aged 16, shouting “Allahu Akbar”….
Turkey, which once boasted two million Christians, has barely 120,000 now, fewer even than Iran. But what shocked people most about July 15’s attacks was how much hatred still remains after almost 10 years.
Though it is nominally a secular republic there can be little doubt that the government and Turkey’s 117,000 Sunni imams work together. …
“Turkey is like Iran in 1975,” said one Iranian in Istanbul. “I’m sure we will see it become an Islamic Republic very soon.”
Turkey is switching from nominally secular to an Islamist state, and presumably it will not join Europe or continue in NATO.