Two masked attackers shot and killed one particular person throughout a church service on Sunday in Istanbul, Turkish officers mentioned. The motive was not instantly clear.
The assault occurred round 11:40 a.m. on the Santa Maria church, an Italian Catholic church within the Sariyer district of Istanbul, the inside minister, Ali Yerlikaya, wrote on the social media platform X. Mr. Yerlikaya gave solely the sufferer’s initials, C.T., and mentioned that an investigation into the taking pictures was underway and that the authorities had been on the lookout for the assailants.
“Such provocations won’t ever be allowed in our nation,” Akif Cagatay Kilic, a prime adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, wrote on X. “The perpetrators will probably be caught as quickly as potential and held accountable earlier than justice.”
The government-appointed governor of Istanbul, Davut Gul, mentioned in televised remarks on the scene that the sufferer was a 52-year-old Turkish citizen.
“Two masked assailants went in, shot at somebody and that particular person was killed,” Mr. Gul mentioned.
According to The Associated Press, the sufferer’s nephew recognized him as Tuncer Cihan, who he mentioned was mentally disabled. The A.P. reported that Mr. Cihan mentioned the goal of the taking pictures was the church, not his uncle, who had “no connection to politics or (felony) organizations.” He added that his uncle had been invited to attend the church “and was a sufferer of destiny.”
Among the gang on the church was the Polish consul in Istanbul, Witold Lesniak, along with his spouse and two of his kids.
‘‘We will discover the perpetrators in the end, perhaps inside 24 hours,’’ Mr. Erdogan mentioned in a telephone name to Mr. Lesniak and to the church’s priest, Anton Bulai, according to a video of the telephone name that was launched by the president’s director of communications.
Pope Francis expressed sympathy for the Santa Maria church neighborhood on Sunday, and Italy’s overseas minister, Antonio Tajani, said his “sorrow and agency condemnation” of the killing in a post on X.
Istanbul’s mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, wrote on X, “We won’t ever enable those that attempt to destroy our unity and peace by attacking the non secular locations of our metropolis.”
The authorities didn’t present additional particulars in regards to the assault or about whether or not the assailants had been suspected of hyperlinks to any terrorist group.
In latest many years, Turkey, a predominantly Muslim nation with a secular state system, has witnessed a number of assaults in opposition to Christian communities.
In 2007, a prominent Turkish Armenian journalist, a part of the small Christian neighborhood in Turkey, was assassinated in broad daylight as he left his workplace in central Istanbul. That similar yr, three employees of an evangelist publishing house had been discovered with their throats slit inside their workplaces. In 2006, an Italian priest was shot to death within the northern province of Zonguldak, and in 2007 one other Italian priest was stabbed in Izmir.
Last month, Turkey arrested three individuals suspected of belonging to the Islamic State terrorist group who, it mentioned, had been planning to assault church buildings, synagogues and the Iraqi Embassy within the nation, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Also arrested had been 29 different individuals linked to the alleged plotters had been additionally arrested, the information company reported. .
The Islamic State has been linked to a number of assaults in Turkey in recent times, together with a bloodbath at a nightclub in Istanbul in 2017, when a lone gunman killed dozens of people during New Year’s celebrations.