Armenian journalist, a Christian news agency said Tuesday, January 30.
Suspected nationalists shattered the Agape Protestant Church ’s windows and spray-painted its
street sign early Sunday, January 28, in the city of Samsun, Pastor Orhan Picaklar was quoted
as saying by Compass Direct News.
Located in a region "infamous for producing the nationalist killers of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink" 11 days ago and an Italian Catholic priest last year, the congregation suffered "a dozen stoning attacks and weekly e-mail threats" during the past two years, Compass Direct News said.
"I was shocked, because, though we’ve been stoned before, it was never this big of an attack," Picaklar was quoted as saying. "When I arrived at 5 am there were about 20 police on the premises, including Samsun ’s deputy police chief."
About 30 "heavy rocks" were apparently thrown through church windows, some of them smashing interior windows and denting walls. The pastor said a note was left inside the church but that police refused to show him what was written on it, claiming that it “wasn’t important.”
Samsun ’s police chief has refused to include the note in the official investigation, saying that it had “nothing to do with this case,” Picaklar added. Police officials have not commented.
The murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, gunned down by a suspected young nationalist from the Black Sea city of Trabzon on January 19, has created concern over growing militant nationalism in Turkey targeting Christians, observers said.
Police have reportedly promised to increase protection around the Agape church, but in published remarks Turkey ’s Alliance of Protestant Churches cautioned that police so far failed to prevent 10 previous attacks.
The Samsun congregation biggest problem is now finding a place to meet, local Christians warned. In a separate case a Protestant church in the city of Odemis reportedly began legal proceedings against the Ministry of Interior in December for allegedly failing to protect its building during repeated attacks. (With reports from Turkey. www.bosnewslfe.com).