Attacks on Christian cemeteries alarm Turkey’s Christians

“They have carried out similar attacks before, and no one was caught”


Attacks on Christian cemeteries in Turkey have deeply shaken the embattled community in recent months.

Twenty of the 72 gravestones in the Ortaköy Christian Cemetery in Ankara were destroyed on Feb. 14, according to news reports. Six people who carried out the attacks were briefly detained and then released.

“These attacks against cemeteries are making the Christian community across Turkey feel incredibly sad and desperate,” Ankara-based pastor İhsan Özbek told Ahval. “Nobody can watch over the graves of their loved ones like a guard.”

One of the destroyed graves belonged to Olga Komshdoğan’s son.

“My son lies here,” Komshdoğan told the Sözcü newspaper. “He died last year. He was 17-years-old. Children his age came here and destroyed his grave. What type of conscience can accept this?”

Komshdoğan said it was not the first attack on the cemetery.

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“They hid the attack on the graves from us. We learned of it through a stonemason. I’m hurting inside so much. If my son were alive, he would not do such a thing. They have carried out similar attacks before, and no one was caught. I want those who attacked the graveyard to be punished. We will sue for material and moral damages,” she said.

Another attack was carried out on a grave in the cemetery of the Santa Maria Catholic Church in Trabzon, northeast Turkey, said the news website, Hristiyan Haber.

Zehra Çolak lost her life on Jan. 17 and was buried the next day in the cemetery of the Aya Filbo (Arafilboyu) neighbourhood, 500 m from the church. A wooden cross was temporarily placed at the head of the grave. According to those who attended the funeral, a small group tried to disrupt the ceremony, shouting Allahu Akbar (Allah is the greatest).

Read more: ahval