Millennium Post

Turkey gives go-ahead for first new church in 90 years

Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government has authorised the building of the first church in the country since the end of the Ottoman empire in 1923. The church is for the country’s tiny Syriac community and will be built in the Istanbul suburb of Yesilkoy on the shores of the Sea of Marmara, which already has Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic churches. “Churches have been restored and reopened to the public, but no new church has been built until now,” a government source told AFP on Saturday. 

Turkey, which once had large Christian minorities, is now 99 per cent Muslim, and critics of the ruling party AKP have accused it of trying to Islamicise its officially secular society. However, as part of its bid to join the European Union Amlara has made efforts to widen minority rights and return some seized property and restore churches, monasteries and synagogues.


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