Catholic priest Father Andrea Santoro was killed in Trabzon’s Santa Maria Church in 2006 while performing a religious ceremony.
The killer was a 16-year-old teenager. In 2007 Hrant Dink, an Armenian-Turkish journalist, was shot to death in front of the Agos weekly newspaper of which he was the editor-in-chief. The murderer, Ogün Samast, was also a minor, 17 years old at the time of the incident. It was revealed later that an ultranationalist group in Trabzon, of which Samast was a member, had long been making preparations for this murder.
Trabzon, one of the main cities in the Black Sea region, is of particular importance for the deep state and ultranationalist groups. We know from the Ergenekon files that some Ergenekon suspects were organizing youth groups in this city. Where does the strategic importance of Trabzon for the deep state come from?
Below I will share with you quite provocative “news coverage” about a planned prayer at the Sümela Monastery on Aug. 15. The nationwide ultranationalist Yeniçağ newspaper is trying to provoke ultranationalist youngsters against Christians who will attend this prayer. Just look at what kind of “arguments” they use and how they link other incidents and this prayer. The headline of the article is “İntikam gibi ayin tarihi.” Let’s read the rest together:
Permission to worship at Sümela
The ruling party’s church initiative continues full throttle. The governor of Trabzon has said that the Sümela Monastery will be open to worship on Aug. 15. One year ago, pressure to allow worship at the Sümela Monastery was blocked by Nilgün Yılmazer, the director of the museum. This year, the government officially allowed worship on this date.
Day of conquest of Trabzon
The date on which the Sümela Monastery will be open to worship is interesting. Aug. 15, 1461 is the day of the conquest of Trabzon, i.e., the day on which Pontus was discarded into the pages of history. Those who select this date for worship seem to be attempting to announce a Byzantine revival.
A special day of worship
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) set Aug. 15 as the day on which the Sümela Monastery will be open to worship. This carefully chosen date interestingly coincides with the conquest of Trabzon and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) first terrorist attack.
A so-called festival of revival for the traitors
Setting Aug. 15 as the day the Sümela Monastery will be open to worship raised questions in the minds of people. On Aug. 15, 1461, the “Greek Empire of Trabzon,” considered an extension of the Byzantine presence in Trabzon, was conquered by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. Aug. 15 also came to be remembered as the day when the PKK started its villainous attacks in 1984. The PKK militants at the time raided the Eruh district of Siirt and Şemdinli in Hakkari, and attacked police stations and military quarters, killing one soldier. The militants kept both districts under their control for some time and spread their propaganda in the districts’ squares and from mosque minarets before returning to northern Iraq. This event had at first not been given much consideration due to the fact that the number of martyrs was not high. At that time, some politicians described the PKK militants as a “group of bandits” and expressed hope that the event would be resolved. The PKK militants later decided to mark Aug. 15 as a “revival day,” when they would carry out new terrorist attacks.
‘Aug. 15’ is not the first…
This is not the first time attempts have been made to conduct a religious ceremony at the Sümela Monastery on Aug. 15. Last time, about 500 people came from Greece and Russia to conduct a ceremony in Trabzon. The tourists climbed up to the Sümela Monastery, lit candles at the entrance and put them near the walls, but officials had not allowed this and poured water over the candles. Thessaloniki Governor Panagiotis Psomiadis and Russian deputy Ivan Savvidi stood before the [icon] portraying Mary and Jesus and recited special prayers and hymns in the company of the clergy in their religious attire. Clamor occurred between the locals who reacted to a service taking place at the monastery and a group provoking trouble.
As you can see, news stories start off by blaming the government because it is allowing this prayer. This is a typical attack strategy of Ergenekon circles when it comes to this government. In Turkey they accuse this government of being too tolerant of non-Muslims and selling Turkey to the US and Europe, while the very same people try to convince the outside world that this government has a hidden agenda and is trying to bring Shariah (Islamic law) to Turkey.
The news coverage also makes reference to the non-Muslim past of the city, which is particularly important to understand the deep state’s interest in this city. Trabzon is one of the most cosmopolitan cities and comprises one of the most reactionary nationalist segments in Turkey. The deep state always wanted the people of Trabzon to prove themselves against this non-Muslim background of the city. To get rid of the shadow of the past and probably also because of the ethnic mix of people in this region, they decided to be the most Turkish people of Turkey. Killing Santoro and Dink were their ways of proving their Turkishness. However, the editors of this newspaper must have thought that this reference to the Greek past was not enough and so they also included the PKK. They are calling on the inhabitants of Trabzon to once again prove themselves. Ergenekon’s infrastructure has been seriously damaged in Turkey, but its mentality is still alive and it always look for opportunities to resurface. We have not passed the critical threshold yet. On this occasion I would like to urge the government and the security forces to make necessary arrangements to prevent any provocation during the religious ceremony that will be held by an international group in the Sümela monastery this Sunday. Trabzon should be freed from the deep state siege.