Rising Middle East tensions spark minority attacks in Turkey
Amidst the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine, minority communities in Turkey are increasingly feeling the heat as tensions spill over into racially motivated attacks. Following the surge of protests related to the conflict, heightened security measures have been implemented across the country, with a particular focus on protecting Jewish synagogues, especially in Istanbul. The Jewish Community of Turkey has temporarily suspended its events due to safety concerns.
In a recent incident that has shaken the nation, the Etz Hayim Synagogue in Izmir was subjected to a racist attack. The assault is a grim reminder of the vulnerability of minority places of worship during periods of heightened political unrest.
Today, the Greek minority in Turkey has also come under attack. The Virgin Mary (Muhliotissa) Church in Fener, the Fener Greek High School, and an abandoned cafeteria were vandalized with racist graffiti. Slogans such as "Down with Israel" and "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine" were scrawled across their walls. Additionally, the buildings suffered damage as stones were reportedly hurled at them.
As reported by the Gercek Gundem, the latest attack occurred last evening, prompting the church's sexton to file an official complaint at the local Balat police station. Eyewitnesses have reported seeing a group of 3-4 individuals, described as wearing turbans and cloaks, committing acts of vandalism and stone-throwing.
In response to the unsettling events, the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church Foundation released a statement conveying their deep regret over the attack. They emphasized, "This attack happened to a place of worship and a school, but it also happened to our people living there. Our police officers helped us a lot. We hope that such incidents will not happen again."
The search for the perpetrators behind the church and school attacks continues, with authorities yet to make any arrests.
*Photo: Gercek Gundem