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0 Contents 2 Background 2.6 Islam 2.6.14 Turkey

Declaration Catholic priest stabbed in Turkey

At least 4 Christian clerics have been targeted since early 2006

updated 12/16/2007 10:32:06 AM ET2007-12-16T15:32:06

A Catholic priest was stabbed in the stomach and hospitalized Sunday in the latest in a series of attacks on Christians in Turkey, officials said.

The priest, Adriano Franchini, was in surgery, Italian embassy official Antonino Maggiore said. Maggiore had no immediate information on the motive of the attack or how it had happened.

The state-run Anatolia news agency said Franchini was stabbed in the stomach but his condition was not life-threatening.

Private news channel Haberturk said a man in his early 20s was detained after the attack.

The man approached the priest saying that he wanted information on Christianity, Haberturk said. An argument broke out between the two shortly afterward and the man stabbed the priest, the report said.

The priest heads the Church of St. Mary in Ephesus but was in the nearby port city of Izmir at the time of the attack, Maggiore said.

In February 2006, at a time of widespread anger in the Islamic world over the publication in European newspapers of caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, a 16-year-old boy shot a Catholic priest to death as he knelt in prayer inside his church in the Black Sea city of Trabzon.

Following that murder, a Catholic priest was attacked and threatened in the Aegean port city of Izmir, and another was stabbed in the Black Sea port of Samsun. In November this year, an Assyrian cleric was abducted in southeast Turkey and rescued by security forces.

Turkey: Italian priest's attacker gets four years in prison

Stabbed for being a priest

If a Christian had attacked and stabbed a Muslim in Turkey, would he too get four years, or would he be executed? This story also reminds that "moderate" Turkey's "small Christian community has been targeted in a spate of attacks over several years, prompting concern among human rights groups and the European Union, which Ankara hopes to join."

"Italian priest's attacker sentenced in Turkey," from Reuters, December 29 :

ANKARA (Reuters) – A Turkish court sentenced a man to four years in prison Monday for stabbing an Italian Catholic priest in 2007 in a case that has highlighted attacks against Christians in Muslim but secular Turkey.


A court in the coastal city of Izmir in western Turkey passed the sentence against Ramazan Bay for stabbing Adriano Franchini, Anatolian news agency reported. Franchini survived the attack.

Bay told the court he had been influenced by media reports of other attacks against Christians, including the shooting death of Andrea Santoro, another Italian Catholic priest, in the Turkish Black Sea city of Trabzon in 2006.

Turkey's small Christian community has been targeted in a spate of attacks over several years, prompting concern among human rights groups and the European Union, which Ankara hopes to join.

Three Christians, two Turks and a German, had their throats slit by youths who burst into their Bible publishing house in the southeastern town of Malatya last year.

Turkish Armenian writer Hrant Dink was also slain last year in Istanbul by a young nationalist gunman. A prosecutor on Monday indicted a colonel for failing to provide protection to Dink, who had received several death threats, Anatolian said.

Christians in Turkey number barely 100,000 in a total population of nearly 75 million.


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