Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government has authorised the building of the first church in the country since the end of the Ottoman empire in 1923, AFP has learned.
The church is for the country’s tiny Syriac community and will be built in the Istanbul suburb of Yesilkoy on the shores of the Sea of Marmara, which already has Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic churches.
“It is the first since the creation of the republic,” a government source told AFP today.
“Churches have been restored and reopened to the public, but no new church has been built until now,” he added.
Turkey, which once had large Christian minorities, is now 99% Muslim, and critics of the ruling party AKP have accused it of trying to Islamicise its officially secular society.
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