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Bishops say Turkish government concerned about Christians

January 06, 2017

Two bishops who minister in Turkey expressed gratitude to the government for providing security outside churches in recent months.

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, “people are understandably afraid of coming to Mass and there’s been a drop in participation,” Bishop Ruben Tierrablanca Gonzalez, apostolic vicar of Istanbul, told Catholic News Service.

“All churches have been given police guards since a coup was attempted last July, and security officials have shown great kindness to us,” he continued, adding that this is “not a time to criticize government failures” such as increasing repression in the wake of a reported coup attempt in July.

Archbishop Lorenzo Piretto of Izmir likewise expressed appreciation for the government’s “concern for Christian minorities” and said that “the population here is not radicalized, and everyone opposes [ISIS] and the fundamentalist terrorists who sow hatred against Christians and Westerners.”

The nation of 80.3 million is 99.8% Muslim.

 
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