Turkey: 'in killing bishop they've symbolically beheaded the Church'


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"With the brutal murder of Bishop Padovese, they have symbolically beheaded the Church in Turkey," Fr Martin Kmetec OFM Conv Franciscan missionary and Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Turkey told Fides.

He said: "As a Christian community, we have been hit very hard. Bishop Padovese was much loved and appreciated by all. Beheading him, they have symbolically beheaded Church. Christians are scared, terrified, and even bewildered after this tragic event. Today, our situation is very difficult. Many people wonder about what step to take next, whether they should emigrate, where to go... It was a serious act that will profoundly mark the sentiments of the Christian community in Turkey."

Religious minorities do not feel protected, despite the reassurances of the government. Just a month ago, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree requiring that all state bodies provide maximum protection for the Christian and Jewish minorities. "Although their legal status has started to improve as a result of a series of reforms, there are still problems in practical matters," explained the decree.

Fr Martin said: "The death of Bishop Padovese, does not leave us hopeless. We are aware that most of the Turkish population accepts us and wants to defend us. But it seems that we are sharing in the fate of Christians in many areas of the Middle East, suffering pressures and violence of every kind. However, we do not cease to place our trust in Providence," he concluded.