Catholic Cathedral in Istanbul
Turkey has authorized the building of a church, the first in the country since the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1923. The announcement was made during a meeting of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu with representatives of non-Muslim minority communities. The church will be built in the Istanbul suburb of Yesilkoy. The cost of building the church will be financed by Turkey’s Syriac community.

A government spokesman told AFP new agency: “It is the first new church since the creation of the Turkish republic. Churches have been restored and reopened to the public, but no new church has been built until now.” In recent times the Turkish government has softened its attitude towards religious minorities, partly to comply with European Union values, and has returned some property such as St Gabriel Monastery in Mardin to the Syriac community. Only about one per cent of Turkish population of 76 million are non-Muslim. Pope Francis visited Turkey, Nov. 28-30, where he met leaders of the nation, as also Muslim and Christian religious leaders. The Christian population of Turkey has grown in recent years due to the fighting in Iraq and Syria.‎

(Source: ICN)