President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday inaugurated the first church built with government backing in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey’s 100-year history as a post-Ottoman state.
The Mor Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Church’s opening marks an important cultural and political moment for both Turkey and its powerful leader.
Erdogan drew widespread condemnation during his two-decade rule for converting ancient churches into mosques and making Islamic conservatism into a leading social force.
He has always countered that he was simply restoring the rights of pious Muslims in the staunchly secular republic founded by field marshal Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923.
Erdogan laid the first stone for the church’s details ⇒
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