Turkish authorities on Thursday said that a suspect has been detained in connection with another attack on an Armenian church in Istanbul—the second this month.
The assailant was caught on security video dismantling the cross of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church and throwing it on the ground in Istanbul’s historical Kuzguncuk neighborhood.
On Tuesday evening, the head of the local district informed Edvard Ayvazyan, chairman of the church board of trustees, who, according to Agos newspaper, after examining the security footage informed the police, which launched an investigation.
The news of a suspect’s arrest was reporter by the Hurriyet Daily Newspaper.
Security footage delivered to the police showed the attack occurred on May 23 with church officials placing the cross back after alerting police.
This was the second attack on an Armenian church this month. On May 9, a person attempted to set fire to the door of the St. Mary’s Church in Istanbul. That suspect was detained.
Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish parliament representing the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), condemned the incident this week, saying inaction by authorities encourage this type of hate speech.
“Attacks continue on our churches. The cross of our Surp Krikor Lusaroviç Armenian Church was removed and thrown away. Hate speech made by the ruling power normalizes hate crimes,” Paylan said in a Tweet.
Paylan visited the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, the site of the latest attack, on Friday and posted photos on Twitter of him meeting with church officials and clergy. He condemned inaction by the Turkish government calling on the country’s leaders to, at the very least, condemn the attacks.
“President Regep Tayyip Erdogan and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu have not yet condemned the attack on our church. There is a mosque right next to our church. Aren’t they both places of worship?” Paylan said in a Twitter post.