Greek Orthodox Graves Desecrated in Turkey

ISTANBUL (Reuters)–Unknown attackers have desecrated 72 Greek Orthodox graves in Istanbul–state-run Anatolian news agency said on Friday.

It said the attackers broke gravestones and opened 15 tombs–breaking crosses and covering the area with bones taken from one of the graves at a cemetery in the city’s Kurtulus district.

It was not immediately clear when the incident took place.

The agency quoted police sources as saying the motive was believed to have been robbery.

Churches and graves belonging to Istanbul’s dwindling ethnic Greek minority have regularly come under attack in overwhelmingly Moslem Turkey.

In Athens–Greek officials reacted sharply to reports of the desecration.

The government called on Turkey to give an explanation–while the opposition New Democracy party said Greece should lodge international protests with the United States–the European Union and NATO.

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