June 8, 2010

'I killed Mgr. Padovese! Allah Akbar!'

Bishop Luigi Padovese, the apostolic vicar of Anatolia—that is the Vatican’s representative in Turkey—who was stabbed by his Turkish driver Thursday, besides being a high-level scholar and among the major experts on St. Paul, was a good and wise man. Just like another Italian priest, Father Andrea Santoro, who was killed in Turkey in 2006. And the man arrested in that case was also described as mentally unstable. Coincidence? Well, everything is possible in this crazy world, even though, to tell the truth, I don’t believe in coincidences. And I’m not the only one. AsiaNews.it:

As the days pass, new details emerge on the story of murder and the alleged "insanity" of the assassin. The doctors who performed the autopsy reveal that Mgr. Padovese had knife wounds all over his body, but especially in the heart (at least 8). His head was almost completely detached from his neck, attached to his body by only the skin of the back of the neck.
Even the dynamics of the killing is clearer: the Bishop was stabbed in his house. He had the strength to go out the door of the house, bleeding and crying for help and there he was killed. Perhaps only when he fell to the ground, was his head cut off.
Witnesses said they heard the bishop cry out for help. But more importantly, is that they heard screams of Murat immediately after the murder. According to these sources, he climbed on the roof of the house shouted: "I killed the great Satan! Allah Akbar! ".
This call coincides perfectly with the idea of beheading, making sense that it is like a ritual sacrifice against evil. This correlates with the murders of ultranationalist groups and Islamic fundamentalists who apparently want to eliminate Christians from Turkey.
Moreover, according to a Turkish newspaper, Milliyet on June 4, the murderer had told police that he his actions were the result of a " divine revelation."

As it was not enough, the timing of Padovese’s killing was significant, as the bishop was scheduled to travel to Cyprus for Pope Benedict’s visit last weekend. Yes, the timing was highly suspect. Cyprus—do you remember? A former British colony, Cyprus became an independent republic in 1960. Following violence between ethnic Greek Cypriots and minority Turkish Cypriots, Turkey invaded in 1974, leading to the division of the island between the internationally recognized south and the north, which is only recognized by Turkey.

On his first day there,

Benedict was greeted warmly by both Catholics and Orthodox, but quickly saw how tense the situation on the small island is, as a Cypriot Orthodox bishop told him that Turkey was trying to take over the entire nation.
“It has turned the Orthodox Christians of Cyprus out of their ancestral homes, where they had lived for centuries,” said His Beatitude Chyrsostomos II at an outdoor ceremony in Paphos. “They want to make everything Greek and Christian disappear from occupied Cyprus.”

And to think that when Father Andrea Santoro was killed in Trabzon in 2006, Bishop Padovese succeeded in finding words of peace and kindness: “We forgive the one who carried out this gesture,” he said at the funeral Mass. “It is not by destroying those who think differently that conflicts are resolved,” he added. “The only way to follow is that of dialogue, mutual knowledge, closeness and sympathy.” Unfortunately, in order to establish a dialogue there must be two sides, two interlocutors. Hopefully alive.

Commenting between tears the death of Bishop Padovese, Father Andrea Santoro’s sister, Maddalena, said, “I hope that eyes will open in Turkey to try to understand and comprehend what there is behind this situation. Because Muslims must also be able to accept Christians, without fearing that we wish to convert people.” In the meantime many people in the Western countries are learning something new everyday about Turkey.


  1. "Turkey has entered a process of fundamental redefinition of its key geopolitical interests. The new priorities ready to break out by 2012 will account for Ankara’s most profound reappraisal since the country joined NATO in 1952. This process illustrates a return to the Kemalist vision of Turkey’s vital interests (1) i.e., different from the agenda set for the country by big powers. It is quite ironical that this evolution is initiated by leaders of religious-oriented party, the AKP. There will be substantial geopolitical, economic and commercial consequences to this strategic shift which challenges the traditional vision of a pro-Western Turkey waiting to join the EU.

    In short, the Turkey/NATO relationship is about to reach a point of no-return. The Turkish case is another striking example of the general process of disintegration currently affecting the Alliance (a theme already developed in previous GEABs) whose leader no longer has neither the vision nor the means required to control all its members."

    PS: Great post!

  2. Turkey has become increasingly close to Arab states (and the true champion of Palestine). The anti-Christian media campaign depicting Christians as enemies of the Turkish people extends to Turkish government officials, and while there is only one handful of actual murderers involved, there are many, many assistants....

  3. AsiaNews is perfectly right. The alleged insanity of the assassin is now indefensible. It was a premeditated murder.

  4. Thank you all, guys.
    As the article (a very good one, thank you, Martin!) states, something very important has happened in Turkey during the last few years.

  5. Turkey under Erogan seems to have made a choice regarding its allies, and this can hardly be to pressurise Europe into accepting Turkey's membership into the European Union.
    This also seems to have opened the door to the rise in religious fanaticism, and the sort of engagement, with Iran, that appears more as an attempt to provoke Israel than to seriously help the Palestinians.

    (One misses the reformation époque of Ataturk, between the last world wars : "The religion of Islam will be elevated if it will cease to be a political instrument, as had been the case in the past").