ISTANBUL — An unknown assailant opened fire outside an Armenian church in Istanbul during the morning service on Sunday.
No one was hurt during the incident but it has made the Armenian community extremely uneasy as it came only a day after a racist organization burned a copy of an Armenian newspaper in Igdir province, Today’s Zaman reports.
The church where the incident happened is in Gedik Pasa, not far from the Armenian Patriarchate. Garo Paylan, who was attending the event, said that someone fired seven shots into the air while standing in front of the church’s gate. He said that the congregation panicked and ran outside.
Paylan also added that he believed the reason why this happened in front of the smaller church is because there are less security cameras around it as opposed to the street where the patriarchy is located.
He said that the police had arrived at the scene and started investigations to identify the shooter. They were also to review footage from nearby cameras.
Paylan noted that an extreme right organization that calls itself the International Association to Fight Unfounded Armenian Allegations (ASIM-DER) had burned a copy of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos in Igdir on Saturday, adding that he did not believe it was a coincidence that the shooting came a day after the ASIM-DER incident.
Recently, the ultra-right group was active in the social media, targeting Armenian agencies, schools, churches, foundations and individuals in Turkey as part of an anti-Armenian hate campaign.
Paylan also said that the Armenian community and Agos could file all the complaints in the world but the rest of the country should stand up against such acts of racism.