The Surp Takavor Armenian Church in the Kadıköy district of İstanbul was the victim of a nationalist attack overnight, Cumhuriyet reported.
According to the report, graffiti reading “This country belongs to us” was scrawled on the exterior wall of the church, while garbage was dumped at the entrance of the church.
Condemning the racist attack on Twitter, the Kadıköy Municipality said it had immediately cleaned up the garbage.
It was reported by Turkish media that a suspect was detained on May 1 after racist vandalism on the wall of the Armenian Surp Takavor Church, but was released a day later under judicial control by a court.
According to the reports, police captured the identified suspect in a derelict building, where he was hiding. The suspect reportedly has psychological problems and had attempted to commit suicide twice before the attack. In his testimony the suspect said he painted the graffiti on the church’s wall “because officials in the church behaved badly.”
Religious and ethnic minorities have increasingly been targets of hate speech and racist attacks in Turkey.
In September, Armenians who were leaving the Narlı Kapı Church in İstanbul on Sunday were stoned by a group of children who chanted “Death to you.”
Racist graffiti that read “May the Turkish race live” was scrawled on the courtyard wall of an Armenian school in İstanbul last September.
More anti-Armenian graffiti that said “Suffering to Armenians” was painted on the wall of the same school on the ninth anniversary of the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
An identical message also appeared the wall of the Surp Haç Ermeni High School in the Bağlarbaşı neighborhood of İstanbul. “Suffering to Armenians,” the message read. (turkishminute.com)