Turkey has authorized the construction of an Assyrian church in Istanbul. This will be the first construction of a place for Christian worship since the fall of Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War.

Turkish law prohibits the construction of churches even though the country provides shelter to several Christian patriarchs.

However, several years ago, a derogation was granted to re-establish liturgic celebration in an old Church.

Turkish law has also applied in the Northern part of Cyprus, since Turkish occupation in 1974. Deceitfully, official tourist leaflets present Christian places of worship, now derelict, as “castles”.

By way of comparison, since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power, more than 9 000 mosques have been built in Turkey.

The nuncio (Pope’s ambassador) appointed to Ankara by the Pope is not registered as Monseigneur Paul Russell, but as His Excellency, Ambassador Paul Russell.

Anoosha Boralessa