Persecution of Christians in Turkey: this act against the Armenian Surp Krikor Lusaroviç (Saint Gregory the Illuminator) Church in Istanbul demonstrates the same contempt for the Christian history and heritage of Asia Minor that we see in the conversion of ancient churches to mosques; even the conversion of the Hagia Sophia to a mosque is still being contemplated. This contempt for Christianity and Christians is also manifested in the ongoing denial of property rights and legal identity to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“Man rips cross from Armenian church in latest attack against Christian sites in Istanbul,” Asia News, May 28, 2020:

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Another church has been attacked amid growing hostility towards Christians in Turkey, which includes arrests, mysterious disappearances, unresolved deaths and a policy of rights violations.

Last Saturday, an unknown man (pictured) ripped the cross from the gate of the Armenian Surp Krikor Lusaroviç (Saint Gregory the Illuminator) Church in Kuzguncuk district, on the Asian side of Istanbul.

The police opened a file against persons unknown, saying that they wanted to shed light on the incident, the Agos weekly reported.

However, since then there have been no further developments despite the fact that the attacker was caught on camera.

In the meantime, church officials have taken steps to repair the damage replacing the old cross with a new one.

The latest attack against a Christian target reflects a growing climate of hostility and repression towards minority groups in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Acts of violence and abuse fit with the president’s policy of ‘nationalism and Islam,’ as evinced by the controversy over Hagia Sophia.

Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish parliament for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)[*] tweeted that “Attacks continue on our churches. The cross of our Surp Krikor Lusaroviç Armenian Church was removed and thrown away. Hate speech by the ruling power normalizes hate crimes.”

The CCTV footage captured the attack. Around 7.20 pm, a man is seen looking at the security cameras for a while, perhaps in an act of defiance, and then remove the cross, noted Edvart Ayvazyan, head of the church foundation, speaking to Bianet, an independent Istanbul-based Turkish press agency.

The local Security Bureau is working on the incident but without any result so far….