Turkey Mourns Christchurch Massacre, Ignores Attacks on Christians and Other Non-Muslims

April 1, 2019

Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, recently responded to a Washington Post op-ed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Christchurch massacre, in which Erdogan postured as a defender of Christianity: “Until Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stops assaulting the religious freedom of the Spiritual Head of the second largest Christian Church in the world, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Orthodox Christianity, who is headquartered in Istanbul, he has no right to opine as a friend of Christianity in an Op Ed in the Washington Post.”

It must be remembered that our Orthodox Faith is being challenged by the Turkish Government. If this persecution is not addressed, it could lead to the asphyxiation of Orthodox Christianity in Turkey. The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are fighting to defend and protect the religious freedoms of our Holy and Great Mother Church. This ongoing persecution takes these principal forms:

“Turkey Mourns Christchurch Massacre, Ignores Attacks on Non-Muslims,” by Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, April 1, 2019:

Since the March 15 massacre of dozens of Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Turkey has joined the rest of the world in condemning the murders, praying for the victims and commemorating the event by laying wreaths at the sites of the slaughter.

This is a fitting response to a mass shooting of innocent people, but there seem to be some problems with it where Turkey is concerned.

The first is the way in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been making cynical use of video footage from the deadly attacks to bolster his candidates’ standing ahead of the March 31 municipal elections — by blaming “global Islamophobia” for the carnage.

The second, and more critical problem, is the discrepancy between the way the government and the people of Turkey have been treating the Christchurch attacks, as opposed to the way they have been responding to the murder of non-Muslims in their own country.

As the Turkish journalist Can Ataklı stressed on his regular TV program “Gün Başlıyor” (“The Day’s Beginning”), the people of New Zealand, a predominantly secular Christian country, have been coming out in droves to denounce the murders of Muslim worshippers and to rail against anti-Muslim violence — imams have even been reciting the Koran in parliament — while the Turks did nothing even slightly similar following the deadly al Qaeda bombing attacks on the Neve Shalom and Beth Israel synagogues in Istanbul in 2003. “Did the people of Istanbul visit the synagogues?” Ataklı asked rhetorically. “Did they pray there according to Jewish traditions [to convey the message that] ‘I am one of you?’ No.”

Ataklı went on:

“Can you imagine portions of the New Testament or the Torah being recited in Turkey’s parliament? The ‘tolerance’ [that Turks speak of] is just hot air. It is simply a lie. There is no such thing [in Turkey or Islamic scriptures]…”

…Turkish Muslims have also been either active participants in — or apathetic to — the ongoing persecution of Christians and converts to Christianity, and the vandalizing of Christian churches, monasteries, schools and cemeteries in the country…

Read the rest here.