Viewing cable 05ADANA167
Title: CATHOLIC BISHOP ANNOUNCES INTENT TO CLOSE ADANA CATHOLIC

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05ADANA1672005-09-23 13:52:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Adana
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
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)