Turkey to Build First-Ever Church in Its Modern Republic

Past in 2016, the government seized the last six remaining Christian churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir

A man waves Turkey's national flag during the Democracy and Martyrs Rally, organized by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and supported by ruling AK Party (AKP), oppositions Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), to protest against last month's failed military coup attempt, in Istanbul, Turkey, August 7, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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The work on the first-ever church to be built in the modern Republic of Turkey will start next month.

Fides News Agency pointed out that the new church will be constructed in the Yesilkoy district of Bakirkoy and will have space for more than 700 believers.

It was suggested that the increase of the Syriac Christian minority in Turkey due to the Syrian civil war is one of the main reasons for Turkey agreeing to build a new church. Turkish authorities had formerly set up a refugee camp reserved for Syriac Christians hosting up to 4,000 people.

However, the Christians have had strong religious freedom concerns during the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Past in 2016, the government seized the last six remaining Christian churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir, declaring them state property

Construction on the church will take around two years, according to The Christian Post.

The church is predictable to serve Syriac Orthodox Christians. The capacity of this church is about 700 people. There are particular 17,000 Syriac Orthodox Christians living in Istanbul.

“We’re proud of living under the Turkish flag in this land,” said by Yusuf Cetin, the Syriac Orthodox Church’s metropolitan for Istanbul and Ankara.

Although the country does have older churches, the Syriac Orthodox church will be the first one to be built in modern Turkey subsequently the end of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s. 

“It is the first since the creation of the republic,” one of a government official said when plans for the church were announced in 2015. “Churches have been reestablished and reopened to the public; but no new church has been built until now.”

The church will be constructed in an area near the Ataturk International Airport.

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