Islamic terror attacks that target Christians in Turkey have been noticeably on the rise. During Christmas in 2011, for instance, a large-scale al-Qaeda plot to bomb “all the churches in Ankara” was exposed. Before Christmas 2015, ISIS issued death threats to at least 20 Protestant churches, and warned that “Koranic commandments… urge us to slay the apostate like you.”
In 2017, as widely reported, a gunman dressed as Santa Claus entered a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year celebrations, and murdered 39 people. A “heroic soldier of the caliphate,” the Islamic State (“ISIS”) later claimed, “attacked the most famous nightclub where Christians were celebrating their pagan feast.” The statement further characterized the government of Turkey as being the “servant of the cross.”
In once-secular Turkey, hate for Christians has, in fact, come to permeate every segment of society — from the average Muslim citizen to the highest levels of government. The examples are many; two of the most obvious — the slaughter of Christians and attacks on their churches — follow:
In 2009, a group of young Turks — including the son of a mayor — broke into a Bible publishing house in Malatya. They bound its three Christian employees, tortured them for hours, and murdered them. “We didn’t do this for ourselves, but for our religion,” one of the Turks accused said. “Let this be a lesson to enemies of our religion.” Later, they were all released from prison on a technicality.
In 2012, an 85-year-old Armenian woman was stabbed to death in her Istanbul apartment. Lest anyone mistake the motive, her murderer carved a crucifix on her naked corpse. According to the report, that “attack marks the fifth in the past two months against elderly Armenian women (one has lost an eye).”
In late 2019, a 16-year-old Muslim boy stabbed a Korean Christian evangelist in the heart several times; the 41-year-old husband and father died shortly thereafter.
More common than the targeted killing of Christians are attacks related to churches.
In 2014 in Istanbul, a random gang of Muslims disrupted a baptismal church service in Istanbul. They pushed their way into the church, yelling obscenities; one menacingly waved a knife at those in attendance. “It’s not the first, and it won’t be the last,” a local Christian said.
In 2015, a Muslim man, shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is greater”) and “Revenge will be taken for Al-Aqsa Mosque,” hurled a Molotov cocktail at Istanbul’s Aya Triada Orthodox Church, and set parts of it on fire. In a separate incident, four Turks shouting “Allahu Akbar” attacked and kicked at the door of Agape Church in the Black Sea region. According to the besieged pastor, they wanted “to go inside and hit someone or attack in some other way.”
Read more: Gatestone Institute