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18 December 2007

Another Attack on a Priest

cadf44a81d24311da3ad87fb65cc319e.jpgIn the last two years, there have been three murder cases of Christians in Turkey. Now a priest in Izmir has been wounded by a young man.

On Sunday, 65-year old Catholic priest Adriano Francini said mass at the Saint Antoine Church in the Aegean province of Izmir.

Before the service, he had met a young man, 19-year old R.B., who said that he was considering converting to Christianity.

Suspect "got angry" 

After mass, Francini and the young man spoke again. The priest said that it was not easy to convert and that certain steps had to be taken. R.B. has said himself that he suddenly "got angry" and stabbed the priest in the stomach. He was caught shortly after the attack and is being questioned by anti-terrorism police.

Father Francini was takin to hospital in Izmir, where doctors have said that he is not seriously injured.

Spate of similar attacks

Although the local police believe that the young man acted on his own, it is nevertheless  the latest in a string of attacks on Christians carried out by young male perpetrators.

The French news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) has interpreted the attack as "the result of attacks targeting Christians in a Muslim-majority country."

Priest Andrea Santoro was stabbed at his church in Trabzon, on the Black Sea, on 5 February 2006. He died of his injuries. The person confessing to the stabbing was a 16-year old male.

On 19 January 2007, Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of the Agos newspaper, was shot dead in front of his office in central Istanbul. The suspected gunman, who was caught a day later in Samsun, was 17-year old O.S..

The suspects in the murders of three employees at a Christian publishing house in Malatya, southeastern Turkey, on 18 April 2007 are also mostly very young. Suspects Emre Günaydin, Hamit Ceker, Cuma Özdemir, Salih Gürler, Abuzer Yildirim, Kürsat Kocadag and Mehmet Gökce are still being tried at the Malatya Heavy Penal Court.

Babacan "saddened" 

Ali Babacan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief Negotiator in EU accession talks, is currently in Paris. He said that he was saddened by the attack: "Whatevery the reason, I am saddened by the attack. I have heard that the life [of Francini] is not in danger. I wish him a speedy recovery." (EÖ/TK)

POSTED BY /  http://www.bianet.org

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