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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05ADANA167 2005-09-23 13:52:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Adana
Cable title:  

CATHOLIC BISHOP ANNOUNCES INTENT TO CLOSE ADANA CATHOLIC

Tags:   PHUM PREL KIRF VT TU ADANA 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADANA 000167 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NOT FOR INTERNET DISTIBUTION

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KIRF VT TU ADANA
SUBJECT: CATHOLIC BISHOP ANNOUNCES INTENT TO CLOSE ADANA CATHOLIC
CHURCH

REF: Adana 0095

1.(SBU) Summary: During a September 23 office call by AMCON
ADANA PO, one of two Catholic priests still presiding over
Adana's Aziz Paulus (otherwise locally known as Bebekli
Kilisesi) Church passed a letter dated September 21 from his
Bishop to Adana Greater Municipality Mayor Aytac Durak informing
the Adana city government that the Church will close the Adana
church as of September 28 (reftel). End Summary.

2.(SBU) In explaining the decision, the Adana catholic priest
said that the Catholic church's patience with the "never ending
empty promises that something will be done about our situation
is running out." He said that, barring an Ankara-directed
immediate decision to close an extremely noisy wedding salon
literally abutting the Church's wall and providing immediate
zoning relief, he thought that he and his colleague would close
the church next week and transfer to the Bishop's seat in
Iskenderun. He further added that his personal determination
that the time had come to conclude the church's effort to seek
zoning relief came in a September 12 meeting with Adana deputy
governor Mehmet Demir, whom he said expressed to him that "I was
in Germany recently and they want to close some mosques there.
Nothing will be done for you Christians." (Comment: We cannot
confirm this statement, however the priest has said to AMCON
ADANA that he has had similar conversations with Adana
governornate office senior officials in the recent past. In
AMCON ADANA's own discussion of the church zoning with Adana
governor Cihat Kirac, the governor seemed uninterested and
almost dismissive of the topic. While Seyhan municipality
officials have assured AMCON ADANA they want to be helpful and
that Prime Minister Erdogan, through AK Party channels, has
instructed them to cooperate, Adana Greater Municipality Mayor
Durak cast the issue as one requiring long-term urban planning,
more national government funding and more patience (from those
seeking change), i.e. the Catholic Church. End Comment.)

3.(SBU) The Adana Catholic priest also said that Turkish
officials in Ankara recently had told Vatican embassy
representatives that "everything had been done to answer church
concerns in Adana, when in fact nothing had changed." He said
that "they talked of a park being here some day, but, look," he
said, "when will this change? There is a wedding salon blaring
music ten hours a day next door and a new disco across the
street where people might even be selling drugs. Many people
leave there hollow-eyed. I see it. Turkish (parishioners) are
afraid to come here. The neighborhood people stare at them and
their glares intimidate them," he said." (Note: the priest,
although suffering from a cold, was very animated and
frustrated, but explained that his Bishop was even more so. End
Note.)

4.(SBU) BEGIN TEXT (POST LOCAL TRANSLATION FROM TURKISH OF AN
ORIGINAL IN ITALIAN):

Iskenderun, 21.09.2005
Protocol Number 031/05

Dear Adana Mayor,

I am writing this letter to inform you about the
(situation of the ) Catholic Bebekli Church in Adana. Despite
officials from the Adana Municipality and the Catholic Church
having discussed (with Catholic Church officials the matter)
many times to find a solution to this issue, with regret, I have
realized that the July 14, 2004 dated regulation 2863 is not
being applied in any form nor is there anybody eager to
implement it!

On July 15, 2005, Robert Niewinski, the Father from the
Bebekli Church and the Seyhan Municipality Enforcement Director
Mustafa Gay met each other and Father Niewinski asked him to
close down the Yeni Gvrg|n wedding hall adjacent to the Church
because of the noise it created during religious ceremonies
(according to the regulation, a ten meter offset from the Church
is required.) But, Mustafa Gay responded "they (the wedding
hall owners) have got all the necessary documents and we cannot
do anything." Deputy Governor Mehmet Demir also gave an
identical answer to Father Niewinski on September 12, 2005.
Therefore, it appears to me that the July 29, 2005-dated letter
by the Seyhan Municipality has no meaning, and at the same time
no timeframe is given about when the incident will be resolved
(please see the attached letter.) (Comment: Post did not receive
this letter. End Comment.)

It appears to me from the course of the case that no one
wants to implement the decisions and laws endorsed by the state.
If there had been a mosque instead of a church at the subject
location, the events would have developed very differently!

Unfortunately nobody has expressed interest in intervening
in this incident for the past ten years. I would like to inform
you that I am going to close down the Adana Church on September
28, and withdraw my priests from there, and inform the (Turkish
Republic government in) Ankara and the Vatican governments of my
decisions, and make my due announcements. At the same time, I
will inform reporters in- and outside Turkey, and explain my
reasons.

I am very sorry for the situation we have experienced. We
did our best, but failed to get the laws of the state
implemented. I request you to inform me, should you make an
important decision on this issue.

Respectfully,
(Signed by) Prof. Dr. Luigi Padovese
The Anatolian Deputy Apostle and Episcopy (Bishop)


P.S.: I sent this letter to the following offices as well.
Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Republic Prime Minister
Governor of Adana
Turkey's Ambassador to Vatican
Vatican's Ambassador to Ankara


(END TEXT)