Bakery converted into Protestant Church in Turkey's southeast
ŞANLIURFA – Doğan News Agency
DHA photoA bakery has been converted into a church for the Protestant community in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, a city bordering Syria and hosting many Syrian migrants.
The building, which had formerly been used as a bakery, was repaired and transformed into a makeshift church named the Protestant Holy Nur [light] Church. Mehmet Pala, a member of the Return to Essence platform, and former Alevi Culture Association head Kemal Atalar attended the opening of the church.
Pastor Eyüp Badem said there were around 500 Christians living in Şanlıurfa, while speaking after the first prayer.
“We will hold our sermons each Sunday from now on. We will pray for the future of the country,” he said.
A recent report revealed that many Christians who fled to Turkey from Syria and Iraq had to conceal their identities and religion.
Some 45,000 Christians who fled Syria and Iraq were forced to hide their religious identity in the Turkish provinces of Yozgat, Aksaray and Çorum.
Around 45,000 Armenians, Syriacs and Chaldean Christians who fled to Turkey have applied to the United Nations to be able to go on to the U.S. or Canada and have been granted residency in Turkey until 2023.
Most now live in small Anatolian cities including Yozgat, Aksaray, Çorum, Amasya, Kırşehir, Erzurum, and Afyonkarahisar.
The Syriac and Armenian Patriarchates, the Istanbul Syriac Orthodox Church and a number of NGOs have been supporting many of these refugees financially, helping to alleviate one of their many struggles.