Grenade attack on Patriarchate

A hand grenade exploded yesterday within the grounds of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, causing minor damage but no injuries. Nobody claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attack, which came one day after the European Commission gave qualified consent for Turkey to start accession talks with the European Union, and a month after Turkish nationalist demonstrators tried to march on the Patriarchate. Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios denounced the attack as an act by «people and circles who do not desire Turkey’s European Union accession… and wish to create problems for the Turkish government, so as to obstruct or even cancel the start of accession talks.» Addressing a group of Greek pilgrims, the patriarch voiced confidence «in divine providence, which has safeguarded the Patriarchate for so many centuries… and will do so in the future too.» The grenade exploded on a church roof, causing minor damage and breaking a few windows. The Patriarchate was also targeted in a bomb attack in 1997.