Armenian Church Vandalized in Turkey

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assailants set fire at the entrance of the St, Mary’s Church in Istanbul

Garo Paylan raises the issue with Turkey’s Interior Minister

The St. Mary’s Church in Istanbul was vandalized late last week when an arson attempt was made to try to burn the church down.

The Istanbul Patriachate issued a statement last week saying that an individual set fire to the church in an attempted arson attack calling a hate crime.

Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament representing the People’s Democratic Party—or HDP—called on Turkey’s Parliament to investigate the incident and addressed an inquiry to the country’s interior ministry,
In his complaint, Paylan cited Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s May 4 speech, in which he called the use of the word “remnants of the sword” as derogatory to Armenians.

Paylan asked whether the use of the phrase by Erdogan enflamed the attack on the church.
In a speech on May 4. Erdogan said:“Although they are now very few in numbers, we don’t let the pursuit of terrorists that are remnants of the sword…”

“On May 8, a hate crime was committed against the Armenian Church in Bakirkoy, Istanbul when its gate was set on fire. It has been reported in the press that after the suspect who launched the hate attack was caught, he said, ‘I burned it because they caused the coronavirus—the plague.’”

“Recurring hate attacks are recently launched against churches in Bakirkoy and other districts. Discriminatory remarks and hate speech were written on the walls of places of worship. There were attempted armed attacks,” Paylan said in his complaint.
Paylan called on the the Turkey’s interior minister to say whether the Erdogan’s inflammatory speech was what prompted the perpetrator to attack the Armenian church.

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