Monday, February 27, 2006

Parliament to consider making religion optional on ID cards - Turkish Daily News Feb 27, 2006

"The Turkish Parliament is set to debate a bill that envisages making the completion of the religion section on identity cards optional. According to the draft bill, which was presented to Parliament over the weekend, the religion section on the identity cards of newly born children will be left empty if families so demand.

The bill is designed to meet the requirements of both the state and citizens and ensure that birth registrations are made properly and includes articles that aim to make the completion of the religion section on identity cards optional. The person will have the right to get their religion changed on the ID or have it included or excluded. According to the current system, a citizen has to submit a court application in order to obtain the right to change the religion section on their ID. However, if the draft bill is accepted by Parliament, the case will be easier; if parents prefer to leave the religion part in the newly born child's identity card empty, the child will get the chance to fill the empty part according to their choice when they reach the age of 18 without any application to court. Only those who wish to fill the religion part in their IDs with a system of belief that's not a formally accepted religion will have to apply to court."

"Ahmet İnal, AKP Batman deputy, said the religion of a child should be the same as the religion of his parents until they are 18, so it should not be left empty. AKP Çanakkale deputy İbrahim Köşdere objected to the bill, saying that it will destroy our spiritual values."

"As an answer to comments that the bill would promote missionary work, CHP Istanbul deputy Ali Rıza Gülçiçek said it would not do so, stating that everybody will choose their religion according to their beliefs and lives. CHP Ankara deputy Yakup Kepenek said he found the regulation positive and added that it would be logical for individuals to make their religious preferences after they have reached a suitably mature age."
Parliament to consider making religion optional on ID cards - Turkish Daily News Feb 27, 2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Turkey tested by expressions of faith

"In the days that followed the February 5 murder of Father Andrea Santoro in his church in the Black Sea port of Trabzon, much discussion has taken place in Turkey as to why he was killed.

This focused mainly on the controversy over the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, and on the work Santoro had done in helping Russian women caught up in organised prostitution.

Some discussion highlighted the fact that there was Christian literature, in Turkish, at the back of Santoro’s church.

Clearly, the killer - who was quickly arrested - was influenced by his own religious convictions and an identity with extremist Islam. He shouted a religious slogan to justify his deed, and made a confession to the police that indicated the religious significance of the murder."

"Listening to ‘‘liberal’’ voices within Turkey, it is clear that any attempt by foreigners to express or commend Christianity in Turkish is regarded as ‘‘missionary’’ and thus unacceptable.

Many conscientious Christians would be seen as ‘‘missionary’’ in the traditional Turkish sense of the word."

"Should Turkey draw on the great breadth of her history and open herself up to the reasonable norms - as expressed in the European Convention on Human Rights - of the societies whose friendship she now espouses?"
Turkey tested by expressions of faith

Monday, February 20, 2006

Christians on Turkey's Fringes

"An EU report on minorities in Turkey has raised concerns over the country's treatment of its Christians. Since the Halki seminary closed in the seventies, the Church in Turkey has had no center for clerical training."

"In the area around Istanbul's main high street, which was once home to hundreds of thousands of Christians, the sound of church bells used to be as common as the call to prayer. One of the buildings in the district used to belong to a hospital foundation run by Armenian Christians, but it was seized in 1996 after a court ruled the property could not be left to the hospital."

"The foundation organizers claim the property seizures are part of a wider pattern of discrimination against Christians in Turkey and are now taking their case to the European court. Their biggest hope is that the EU can be instrumental in putting a stop to discrimination and the domestic mentality which persists in perceiving Christians as outsiders."
Christians on Turkey's Fringes | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 19.02.2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Attack on Armenian church in Kayseri

"An Armenian church in Turkey came under attack on Wednesday when 10 assailants fired 10 shots at the door of the church before running away shouting anti-Christian slogans. The Surp Krikor Lusavoric Church, in the centrally located city of Kayseri, was a target of tensions that have been rising in Turkey following protests over the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Kayseri is a conservative town, but has both Christians and Muslims living together.

The attackers shouted anti-Christian slogans and "Allahu Akhbar," or "God is Great," the Patriarchate said. "It is a natural democratic right for Muslims to express their indignation against the provocative cartoons, but I cannot understand acts of violence against Christian places of worship in our country," the patriarch said.

The Armenian community in Turkey is about 45,000 strong, mostly Orthodox, but with a small number of Roman Catholics and Protestants.

No one was hurt in the attack."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Istanbul Church Building Shot

Last week a local Church building was shot four times when no one was present. This picture shows some of the bullet holes. Police are investigating but haven't discovered who is responsible. The police offered protection for Sunday's service at this Church as well as several others around the city. Incidents like this have been on an uprise since extremist groups began using cartoons of Muhammed to raise up violence. Please pray for protection of believers here in Turkey and that they would be able to stand strong under persecution.

Is Turkey a secular country?

They don't often act like it:

"Some people thought that with the cartoon crisis, Turkey's membership in the EU would be brought up once again as an asset and that opponents to Turkey's entry in the EU would see that Turkey, a Muslim and secular country, can play a role in the dialogue among civilizations. But is that really the case?
Turkey was among the 11 countries that protested about the cartoons to the Danish government early last October.
The Turkish secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) focused on the cartoon issue during the OIC meeting in December instead of trying to cool the situation down.
The Turkish authorities' reaction to the murder of Father Santoro in Trabzon last week was very weak. Ankara's position on Iran, particularly on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) file, is also very bizarre.
Hamas' recent election success and the Turkish government's attitude to this is also very strange.
The insistence on taking up religious issues and the stubborn policy to implement religious reforms is also a bad sign.
The lack of political will to implement EU reforms, and particularly those related to religious minorities, is also an indicator that should be kept in mind.
Therefore in Brussels some still think that Turkey could play a role in a dialogue among civilizations but that the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is unwilling or unable to assume this responsibility for many reasons.
EU-Turkish relations are entering a slow phase. In Brussels everybody has two questions in mind: Will there be early elections in Turkey, and if yes, when? And the second biggest question is who will be the next Turkish president? A secular candidate or not?"
The New Anatolian

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Muhammad Cartoon Protests Move Into Christian Town in Turkey

"The Assyrians/Syriacs of Turabdin in south-eastern Turkey have many times before been forced to pay with their lives for conflicts between Turkey and the West, or between Muslims and Christians in other parts of the world.

On Friday, 10th of February and Saturday, 11th of February 2006, large demonstrations took place in the city of Midyat in Turabdin. Thousands of fanatic Muslims gathered in Estel, the new part of the city, and started to march towards the old part of Midyat, where the Christians live.

The events raise many questions and remind of the days of the Cyprus conflict and other conflicts, when the Assyrians/Syriacs were punished for being Christians. It is nothing strange that Muslims who feel offended demonstrate. But what seems strange is that the demonstration took place in Turabdin, where there are no Scandinavian embassies to burn down.

The demonstration was aimed at what is left of the Christian Assyrian/Syriac group. This is confirmed by the fact that the mob that had gathered in Estel walked all the 6 kilometers to Midyat to get to the Christian Assyrians/Syriacs. The mob was stopped by the police right before reaching Midyat. If Turkey had not been in membership negotiations with the EU right now, the authorities would not have stopped the mob, there are many examples of that from the past.

During the last 5 years many Assyrians/Syriacs have moved back to Turabdin, and many more are building and renovating their houses, hoping that things have changed and improved in Turabdin and the rest of Turkey. But the events of the last days indicate the contrary."
Muhammad Cartoon Protests Move Into Christian Town in Turkey

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Remembering a Missionary Killed in Turkey

It is our hope that things like this will only help to turn the hearts and minds of the people toward Jesus.

"Unless the grain of wheat which falls to the ground dies, it remains alone; if it dies, it produces much fruit" (John 12:24). This Gospel verse, we learn from those around him, was often on the lips of Father Andrea Santoro. Almost like a program for life, to be kept continually in mind, or, considering his death, a forewarning, an announcement that his life offered for the cause of the Gospel would not be fruitless.

Father Andrea was neither unprepared nor imprudent: He had studied and had become very familiar with the culture and environment in which he chose to live, he was aware that an extreme act such as the one which killed him was not to be excluded."

"All missionaries know they may be called to sacrifice their life for the cause of the Gospel. However, a violent death is not something accidental which must be simply taken into account, it is the supreme offering of self.

Missionaries put their lives in the hands of the Lord with full awareness and with love, knowing that should their blood be shed it will not be in vain, it will be nourishment and source of life for the local community and indeed for the whole Church."

"As a Christian who received the faith from that part of the world, he wanted to return there to give the faith in his turn. Reverend Andrea went to Turkey not to proselytize or to try to impose a change on the situation and society: His mission was one of presence, a presence of prayer and of concern for the material and spiritual poverty around him; he was absorbed in love for God and for every brother and sister with whom he came into contact."
Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome

Friday, February 10, 2006

Turkish youths threaten to kill Catholic friar

"A group of Turkish youths threatened to kill a Catholic friar, grabbing him by the throat and shouting "God is Greatest", just days after a Catholic priest was shot dead in Turkey, the friar said on Friday."

"Martin Kmetec, a Franciscan friar from Slovenia, opened the door of his house on Thursday to find seven or eight angry men in their twenties.

"He took me by the throat and pulled me inside and said 'we're going to finish you off' ... he also said Allahu Akbar (Arabic for God is Greatest)," Kmetec told Reuters by telephone from his church in the province of Izmir.

Kmetec closed the door on the youths, who said they were nationalists and the group, after trying to break the door down, left."
Reuters AlertNet - Turkish youths threaten to kill Catholic friar

Priest's death calls attention to Turkey's ban on "missionary" work

I know we have personally experienced a lot of people who don't understand what is legal and what isn't.

"The killing of a Catholic priest in Turkey should focus attention on the restraints imposed on Christians living in that country, an Irish Anglican cleric stationed in Istanbul argues."

"Even the possession of Christian literature is regarded as "missionary activity," which is unacceptable in Turkey, the Anglican priest notes. He adds: "Many conscientiousChristians, simply by reason of their baptismal faith, would be seen as "missionary" in the Turkish understanding of the word."

Canon Sherwood reports:

"The idea that Christian literature in Turkish, distributed by faithful Christians, is suspiciously criminal, or at least intellectually unacceptable, prevails among senior army officers, university professors, Islamicist politicians, lawyers, doctors, journalists, and many others."
Catholic World News : Priest's death calls attention to Turkey's bar on "missionary" work

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Missing a crucial factor

What is freedom of speech, one writer's take:

"The uproar in the Islamic world over Danish cartoons lampooning the prophet Muhammad reminds us that much of that world misunderstands what democracy means."

"In the Muslim world, where physical depictions of the prophet are blasphemous, the drawings were viewed as a Western attack on Islam. But in Europe, newspapers have reprinted the cartoons in defense of freedom of speech.

The whole episode is a classic case of cultural collision. Yes, these images are insensitive and heighten tensions between the West and Islamic countries. It might have been better had they never surfaced."

"But the assumption by many ordinary Muslims -- and even Muslim leaders -- that Western governments should censor such drawings is a nonstarter. As the newspaper France Soir, which reprinted the cartoons, wrote: "We had no desire to add oil to the fires as some may think. A fundamental principle of democracy and secularism is being threatened." This is a principle that many Muslims apparently don't understand.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, perhaps reflecting the sentiment of angry constituents at home, reportedly called for a limit on press freedom. Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai said that "an act like this must never be allowed to be repeated."

"Sharia does not apply in the West, where freedom of speech is a right protected by law and constitutions. The exercise of that right irritates Western leaders, including President Bush. And Western media are more likely to insult their own religious icons than they are those of Islam.

Remember Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ? Or the infamous New York exhibition that included Andres Serrano's Piss Christ, a photo of a cross dipped in urine? Both were widely condemned by America's religious leaders.

Such protest is totally legitimate, and part of Western tradition. If Muslims want to picket newspapers that publish the cartoons, more power to them. What's not legitimate in democratic society is a death threat against artists or demands to curb free speech.

This point must be emphasized over and over, as Europe struggles to better integrate its 15 million Muslim citizens. European leaders can soothe hurt Muslim feelings but shouldn't apologize for free speech."
Star-Telegram | 02/08/2006 | Missing a crucial factor

When the children of the Black Sea are taught to hate priests

"“Last summer I was in Rize, a small town not too far away from Trabzon doing some research for an article on the Black Sea when I was drawn to the title of a local newspaper: 'A priest sighted on the coast road'. The shocked tone of the title made it sound as if they had seen a UFO in the skies above the Black Sea”.

This is how journalist Can Dundar begins his article, published February 6th, in the right wing Turkish national daily newspaper Milliyet. He continues: “People I spoke with afterwards brought me to the spot where the priest had been sighted, saying 'he ran towards the hills, the young boys ran after him, they tried to catch him’. The religious leader of Rize stated without hesitation that ' the number of Christian religious coming to our city is on the rise, they have a different intent to ours, we must, our nation must, stay united against them'. The chief party spokesman for the Grey Wolves (MHP) also commented: 'The priests who arrive in our area want to re-establish the Christian Greek-Orthodox state that was here before, there are spies among these priests, working for the West, they are trying to destroy our peace, the people from the Black Sea are conservatives by nature'. Were these declarations, perhaps a sign of the danger to come? - continues the Milliyet journalist - that is, the murder of a priest”. Can Dundar draws his conclusion: “If Turkey demands respect and tolerance for all religions from the rest of the world, should Turkey then, not be the first to ensure the protection of members of all the religions that are professed within its borders”."

"The police have captured the sixteen year old who murdered Fr. Andrea and has doubled surveillance on Churches and Synagogues. But true protection is putting an end to the anti-Christian propaganda spread by the mass-media. To avoid nurturing other assassins.

It is useless to hide the obvious anti- Christian and anti-Western sentiment which permeates the populations of the Black Sea region and beyond, a sentiment that is encouraged by various State Authorities."

"As if that alone were not enough, for months now in newspapers and on television stations we witness programmes and discussions against Christianity, talk shows and articles which ridicule the Christian religion and Christian beliefs. They promote the theory that Christianity and Judaism are united in the intent to destroy the Islamic religion and that this is why they attack Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine...

This rising antipathy towards Christianity took a turn for the worse following declarations made on television by Rahsan Ecevit, wife of former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit (socialist and defender of the lay state!) that “the Islamic religion is slipping from our hands, it’s loosing vitality, what's more many Muslims are converting to Christianity"."

"What then, is to be said of school books which portray Christianity as false and ridiculous?

Children and adolescents are taught that the Gospel is false because it was changed and modified to the whim of Popes ....and that before the end of the world Jesus will return to earth to show Christians the true path of Islam...

Why is no one trying to correct these subversive phenomenons and tell the truth? A true meeting of cultures and civilizations which Turkish authorities hold to pursue cannot remain a monologue."
>>> <<< When the children of the Black Sea are taught to hate priests

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ankara : To kill a man of God is Blasphemy

A 16 year old boy was arrested yesterday for the murder of the priest in Trabzon. A Turkish government official defends his country's religion:

"While official investigations into the movements of Fr. Andrea Santoro's assassin continue, Turkey's deputy minister for religious affairs Mehmet Gormez has appeared on national television appealing for calm and for a closer study of the Koran, Islam's sacred writings. The deputy minister maintains that a true follower of Islam would never permit himself to disrespect other human beings or institutions over what he termed as "stupid cartoon strips". Above all, referring to the killing of Fr. Andrea, a true believer would never murder a man of God in the house of God."

"The Turkish press writes that a broadly circulated identikit, have led local police to a youth who, Saturday last in the company of 4-5 friends entered the church where Fr. Andrea was celebrating mass intent on its' disruption. The group were removed from the premises by the priest. Anadolu press agency reports that at 3.00 am local time, police raided a house in the centre of Trabzon, where they found a sixteen year old high school student in hiding with relatives and in possession of a fire arm. The youth was arrested as a suspect in the case, the pistol has been sent to the near by city of Samsun for ballistic testing."

>>> <<< Ankara : To kill a man of God is Blasphemy

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Ahmet Hakan: This was inevitable

Pretty inciteful article by a local Turkish reporter. He has a good point. When government officials and most of the mass media consistently misrepresent the Christian community here in Turkey, this kind of thing is a lot more likely. Let's pray this helps to change things:

"If you confuse the minds of people in a country with statements like "The Fener Greek Patriarchate will be ecumenical, and the goal of these people is to set up a second Vatican in Istanbul......" And if you provoke the masses with comments like "Turkey is on the verge of being overwhelmed by missionaries," or "There are thousands of churches which have been set up in apartments...." And if you spread the feeling around the society that "Everyone is against us....the only friends Turks have are other Turks....." And if you make gaffes like saying "The blame lays entirely with those that have tried to set up dialogues between religions....": Well, of course, the result is what we have now. The seeds of enmity and strife have been planted.

And so a maniac has come out into the open, and, taking advantage of the discord, has shot a priest in the back in Trabzon. But the important thing here is not that maniac. The people we should look at are those who have prepared the poisonous atmosphere that now surrounds us. This atmosphere is so powerful. Just think, only 3 days ago, a variety of spiritual leaders in Turkey, including the Armenian Patriarch, the head rabbi, and the Vatican's representative, all issued a statement in the strongest language, condemning the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed which were printed in a Danish and European newspapers. But clearly these statements did nothing to help the atmosphere. It was a meaningful gesture, but it did not find the resonance that it should have in our society.

The winds of discord are that strong these days. And now, we have the death of the priest in Trabzon. And today, we can openly say this: It is those who laid the groundwork for the current psychological atmosphere in Turkey who are responsible for the trigger of the gun that shot Priest Sentore."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Turkey launches manhunt for priest killer

"Turkey vowed on Monday to hunt down the killer of an Italian Catholic priest in an attack widely denounced as provocation amid the Muslim uproar over European cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed."

"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the murder of Andrea Santoro, a 61-year-old Italian, who was shot twice in the entrance of the Santa Maria church on Sunday in the northern city of Trabzon.

"We cannot accept the fact that a priest could be killed by bullets in a holy place while performing his religious duties," the prime minister said late on Sunday in Istanbul."

"We believe this brutal murder is an isolated incident," he said. "We hope it will not be repeated and will not harm the climate of tolerance in our country."
Middle East Times

Catholic World News : Priest's killing shocks Christians in Turkey

"Father Andrea Santoro, an Italian missionary priest who had served in Turkey for 10 years, was shot twice at point-blank range in his church in the port town on the Black Sea. The gunman shouted, "Allah is great!" before running out of the church.

Bishop Luigi Padovese of Anatolia, who rushed to the scene on hearing of the priest's death, told the AsiaNews service that the timing of the killing-- as Muslim militants around the world protest the cartoons mocking Islam-- "does not seem incidental to me." The bishop reported that the atmosphere in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, "is heated, not to say overheated." Christian churches were under heavy security in the aftermath of the killing."

"AsiaNews reported that the killer's face was apparently recorded by a videocamera at a jewelry store adjacent to the church."

"This has always happened, and unfortunately this will happen again," said the Spanish cardinal. "Despite these tragedies, missionaries continue to proclaim the word of Christ, with the sentiments of peace, love and pardon-- pardon which ought to be given to the assassin of Father Andrea."

Questioned about a possible link between the killing and Islamic hostility, Cardinal Saraiva Martins said that he wanted to be "prudent" about jumping to conclusions. In any case, he said, it would be wrong to speak of a "religious conflict," because "every faith is against war and against the misuse of the image of God."
Catholic World News : Priest's killing shocks Christians in Turkey

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Catholic priest shot dead in church in Turkey

"An Italian Roman Catholic priest was shot dead in his church in the Turkish Black Sea city of Trabzon on Sunday, police said."

"CNN Turk showed a small crowd of onlookers near the Santa Maria church where the priest was killed. The state Anatolian news agency identified the dead man as Andrea Santaro, aged 60. Other Turkish media said he had been in Turkey about five years.

Anatolian quoted Trabzon governor Huseyin Yavuzdemir as saying: "We condemn this attack against a man of religion ... There are witnesses. The police are trying to catch the suspect based on information the witnesses gave."

"Violent attacks on Christian clergy are virtually unheard of in Turkey, which takes pride in its history as a meeting place of different cultures and religions."
Catholic priest shot dead in church in Turkey

Two Americans find warmth in Muslim Istanbul

I'm always glad to read a good Turkey travelogue, this one is pretty thorough:

"Given recent world history, I was not sure how two obvious outsiders would be received in Turkey, whose population is overwhelmingly Muslim. But my travel companion, Cliff, and I found during a four-day visit that Istanbul is one of the most beautiful, gracious and -- for Americans -- unspoiled big cities in Europe."

"Everywhere we looked, we saw the collision of the traditional and the new, the handmade and the mass-produced, the religious and the secular."

"Nowhere did we stick out more than when we ferried to Asian Istanbul, a 15-minute trip across the Bosporus. Istanbul straddles Europe and Asia, the world's only city on two continents.

As we boarded the boat, a man sprinted toward us, begging us to pose for a picture with him. We smiled as his companion snapped a photo, and I wondered how he would explain the shot to his friends.

The Asian side of Istanbul was more conservative, with many more women wearing headscarves. We also got more unabashed stares there. Kids outside an apartment complex stopped playing soccer when we passed and asked in their best English, "Where are you from?"

"The shopping experience was more intense at the Grand Bazaar, a labyrinthine building of rug and souvenir shops where the vendors are more than willing to bargain. I bought several ceramic bowls with whirling dervishes painted on them -- although we missed seeing the famed meditative dancers -- and asked the salesman where the shopkeepers prayed.

There is a small mosque in the bazaar, he said. But in the bazaar, as in the rest of Istanbul, most people seemed to greet the prayer announcements indifferently. They stayed at the cafe, at the bus stop, at their T-shirt stand.

Are people praying on their own time? I wondered. Are there unwritten rules about Turkish Islam? Perhaps we could find out."

"We stopped at yet another cafe after the Blue Mosque, and our waiter soon asked where we were from. We struck up a conversation, eventually exchanging e-mail addresses, and I asked about the lack of public reaction to prayer announcements.

"We are soft Muslims," he explained. He had not been to mosque in five years, he said, and he and many of his friends drink beer."

"Our waiter charged us the equivalent of $15 for a bottle of water and a beer -- a sum we knew was inflated from our visit a few nights earlier.

Here it is, I thought, the rip-off of the Americans.

I questioned our waiter about the bill, but without Turkish, I didn't get far. So I paid it, and we headed toward the stairs. But as we reached the landing, a man called out to us. At first I thought he was another photo seeker. But he walked down and asked us how much we had paid for our drinks.

I told him, and he looked to the top of the stairs, calling our waiter down to apologize. Clearly, this man was some sort of supervisor, perhaps the manager or owner of the Cambaz. Then he counted out the equivalent of about $10 in Turkish lira, gave it to us and apologized himself.

I was dumbstruck. We were as good as gone -- for all he knew, never to return to Istanbul -- and yet he chased us down to do the right thing."
Two Americans find warmth in Muslim Istanbul

In Turkish Movie, Americans Kill Innocents

Americans are the bad guys again in the Turks eyes. It's amazing how quickly things can go sour. Maybe they think it will help them get into the EU the more anti-American they are. Pray that this kind of attitude wouldn't impact the work here:

"In the most expensive Turkish movie ever made, American soldiers in Iraq crash a wedding and pump a little boy full of lead in front of his mother.

They kill dozens of innocent people with random machine gun fire, shoot the groom in the head, and drag those left alive to Abu Ghraib prison - where a Jewish doctor cuts out their organs, which he sells to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv."

"Valley of the Wolves Iraq" - set to open in Turkey on Friday - feeds off the increasingly negative feelings many Turks harbor toward their longtime NATO allies: Americans.

The movie, which reportedly cost some $10 million, is the latest in a new genre of popular culture that demonizes the United States. It comes on the heels of a novel called "Metal Storm" about a war between Turkey and the U.S., which has been a best seller for months.

One recent opinion poll revealed the depth of the hostility in Turkey toward Americans: 53 percent of Turks who responded to the 2005 Pew Global Attitudes survey associated Americans with the word "rude"; 70 percent with "violent"; 68 percent with "greedy"; and 57 percent with "immoral."

"The scenario is great," Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas told The Associated Press after the film was shown at a posh opening gala Tuesday night. "It was very successful. ... a soldier's honor must never be damaged."

But Topbas and other Turks at the premiere weren't too concerned about how the movie would be perceived in the United States.

"There isn't going to be a war over this," said Nefise Karatay, a Turkish model lounging on a sofa after the premiere. "Everyone knows that Americans have a good side. That's not what this is about."
In Turkish Movie, Americans Kill Innocents

Friday, February 03, 2006


Here's a more detailed report on Sonicflood's visit to our fair land:

"Performing in a country that is composed of 99 percent Muslim faith, SONICFLOOd front man Rick Heil speaks of the unique opportunity.

“When we were talking about the opportunity to visit Turkey, I was definitely excited but at the same time a little hesitant because of Istanbul's recent past with terrorist attacks and the bird flu outbreak,” Heil says. “Also to add to my uneasiness, Turkey has approximately 71 million people in it, and of the population only 2,200 people profess to have a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Each time we played, I knew we were combating a spiritual force that had led so many astray for so long. After my short visit, however, I felt that the young Church in Turkey was strong and tenacious like a bulldog.”

While in Turkey, SONICFLOOd performed four concerts including a show at one of the top clubs in Europe. This was the first Christian concert at the secular venue in modern Turkish history. They also taped footage for a new music video, “This Generation,” while in Turkey. Other performances included various schools for international students as well as at a Turkish church."

“The response from our Turkish fans was very overwhelming,” guitarist Trey Hill shares. “We were touched by stories of their trials and triumphs, and how the people of the country are responding to the Gospel. The strength and unity of the church in Turkey was touching. It inspired me to encourage my fellow Christians in the U.S to unite.”
Find a San Antonio Church - Christian Online Magazine