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World News

Bishop thanks Turkey government for improved security

Bishop Ruben Tierrablanca Gonzalez, apostolic vicar of Istanbul, is speaking after a car bomb killed four and injured 11 in Izmir on January 1 and an attack in an Istanbul nightclub left 39 dead.

He told Catholic New Service: "All churches have been given police guards since a coup was attempted last July, and security officials have shown great kindness to us.

"Christians, Muslims and Jews are talking together and sharing the same anxieties, although the future doesn't depend on us."

Bishop Gonzalez added that imams and Muslim community leaders regularly attend Catholic services and take part in interfaith events.

He said the church had accomplished "many positive achievements" in Turkey, including its ecumenical links, charity work and support for Middle East refugees.

"Despite its problems, our country is no more dangerous than many others - the challenge is only from a few small groups and individuals," Bishop Gonzalez said.

"Since Muslims form the majority here, it's natural the government is pro-Islam. But this poses no problem and doesn't prevent Catholics and Muslims from working together."

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