TURKEY: Istanbul mayor İmamoğlu visits attacked Armenian church in solidarity and unity

ISTANBUL, Turkey – CHP opposition mayor of Istanbul Ekrem İmamoğlu visited the Armenian Church of Gregory the Illuminator in the Kuzguncuk neighborhood of Üsküdar. On the 23rd of May, the church was the target of racist vandalism in which the offender, in open daylight, pulled down the cross with brute force from the church door and throwing the cross on the ground in contempt.

On his visit, mayor İmamoğlu made clear that this attack was an attack against all Turkish citizens and not only against the Armenian Church. In his conversation with chairman of the church foundation Edvard Ayvazan, mayor İmamoğlu expressed his solidarity and unity and said that such attacks against houses of worship are unacceptable in any way. Everybody needs to stand up against attacks like this, independent of religious affiliation.

According to Turkish media, the offender was arrested and interrogated, but released the next day.

Mayor İmamoğlu was accompanied on his visit by district mayor of Üsküdar, Hilmi Turkmen. On his Twitter account mayor İmamoğlu commented;

“We visited the Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Armenian Church in Kuzguncuk which was the target of an ugly attack, and expressed our sadness over the attack and support for the church congregation. Regardless of belief, the attack against a house of worship is an attack against all of us. Nobody can break our unity.”