by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Another historic church was recently looted by treasure hunters in Turkey, International Christian Concern reported Saturday. The Byzantine-era Greek church in the north-coastal city of Samsun is just the latest in a growing long list of foreign religious sites that have been plundered and vandalized in Turkey.
ICC reports that local residents in Samsun have been asking authorities to restore the church, claiming it has historic value that may attract tourism to the area. However, the church was recently desecrated and looted instead. Frescoes were removed and roofing and walls were damaged in illegal excavations.
In February this year treasure hunters looted and destroyed the 14th-century Hutura Hagios Monastery Church in the Black Sea region of the country. This church is considered one of the holiest Orthodox Christian churches in the region.
Armenian churches are also among those that have been vandalized and looted. And there have been efforts to sell consecrated church land for commercial purposes.
Churches are vulnerable to looting as many are forcibly abandoned, ICC said. The buildings are then left to fall into ruin and treasure hunters come to strip them. Other churches are converted into tourist sites. According to ICC, there is very little prospect of these church buildings being returned to the safe-keeping of their Christian communities.
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