Catholic Church of Antakya (Antioch), Hatay province, Turkey
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
My article If Only Sarai Sierra Had Read My Blog She Would not be Missing in Turkey generated a lot of heat from readers who disagreed vehemently by some of my statements.
Some readers insisted that Muslim converts to Christianity faced no problems, which was debunked here.
Some readers insisted that Turkey was a safe country because they've traveled there many times without incident. But so what? Just because YOU have never had any problems means nothing. I have lived or worked in New York City for the past 64 years and I have never been mugged even once, but I would be an idiot to think that no one ever gets mugged in the city. Certainly it would be a wise warning not to travel to certain parts of New York where the probability of getting mugged approaches 100%. Even then, I have no doubt that there are residents of Harlem who have never been mugged or robbed, but again, so what?
Another reader left this comment:
I recently traveled to Turkey for 15 days ALONE and feel like I left my heart there, as I have NEVER in my LIFE met a more kind, generous, caring, and passionate group of people. Everyone welcomed me with welcome arms and were so happy to meet an American such as myself.
Yes, one Turk was so happy to meet Americans he put up a fireworks display:
The bomber had first gone to the rear access of the embassy, then went to a checkpoint on the building's perimeter where IDs are checked, explained U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. According to law enforcement sources working on the investigation, Shanli blew himself up on a walkway for embassy employees and their guests.
Let me admit that my response about one lunatic Turk blowing himself does not prove that a majority of Turks hate Americans. Likewise, this reader's comment that she met Turks who greeted her warmly does not prove that the majority of Turks like Americans. However, my argument is not that the majority of Turks want to rape and kill American women, but that there are sufficient numbers of dangerous Turks because of a culture that does not have a pleasant view of women traveling alone. That Sarai Sierra was found stabbed to death kind of makes my point.
Now as to the title of this article: some readers, again for no reason, wrote that there are a lot of churches in Turkey, as if that makes the country safer; for example, reader Perla from Istanbul left this comment:
OMG . you are so ignorant! Wow ! Boy you sould study and educate yourself. Actually who you are to judge or tell lies. OMG, you need a teraphy. You can not just write what you want to write and tell lies against people boy. I know so many people among muslim who can do and decide easyly what to do. no one controls them, no one hurt them. That is the beauty of Islam. Do you know how many churches are there in Istanbul and Turkey? More than your uneducated brain can imagine. And Muslims respect every nation, every religion. Wowo you need help boy!!!
Yes, Perla, I know precisely how many churches there are in Turkey, a few dozen active ones. While the Turkish Government will list hundreds and hundreds, most are either in ruins or being used for other purposes such as storage or garages. There are a hundred or so Greek Orthodox Churches but only a handful are active since almost all Greeks have been forced out of Turkey (there are less than 2,000 Greeks left today).
As for non-Greek churches, here are 4, only the third one is still in use (click on any panel for a larger view):
As for churches in actual use, some are not at all as most Americans would imagine. At the top of this post is a church with seating for about 12. This is one of the better kept up churches. Much of the reason for the decline in the condition of many of Turkey's churches is that for the past one hundred years the churches have been prevented from maintaining or preserving their facilities because of lack of permission from the government to carry out minor repairs or even paint the deteriorating church and school buildings.
It should be mentioned that it is illegal in Turkey, as in all Muslim countries, to try to convert a Muslim away from his religion.
It is amazing how many Turks themselves are under the delusion that their country is tolerant of other religions. But even if Turkey had ten thousand churches, Sarai Sierra would still not be alive today. However, if she had only read my blog and followed my advice ...
Photo credits for Mosaic:
(1) Holy Saviour's monastery of Yerazgavors
(2) Church of the Redeemer
(3) Surp Krikor Lusavoric Armenian Orthodox Church, Karakoy, Galata, Istanbul
(4) The Red Church