Turkish Nationalists Gatecrash Orthodox
Posted 01-06-2005 13:31:15 (GMT
ISTANBUL (AFP) -- Turkish nationalists chanting slogans and waving the flag of
an extreme right-wing party Thursday tried to disrupt a Greek Orthodox
religious ceremony here called the benediction of the waters of the Bosporus, eyewitnesses said.
As part of a tradition dating back to
Byzantine times, a crucifix is thrown into the waters and young divers plunge
in, competing to recover it.
Some 60 nationalists interrupted the
proceedings waving flags of the National Action Party (MHP) and chanting:
"This is Turkey
here, like it or leave it."
Hundreds of members of Istanbul's
Greek Orthodox community attended the traditional ceremony held every January
6, the date of the Orthodox Christmas, on the banks of the stretch of water
known as the Golden Horn, which cuts into the western side of the Bosporus dividing the city's European and Asian sides.
Police held the intruders back, and they
later made an equally unsuccessful attempt in fishing boats to invade the
section of water where the ceremony took place.
Istanbul has a Greek Orthodox community several thousand
patriarchate is a regular target of demonstrations organised
by Turkish nationalist movements. A home-made epxlosive
device was thrown into the Patriarchate gardens last October, but caused only
© 2004, Assyrian International News Agency. All