According to Hurriyet Daily News, “the Council of Europe has hailed Turkey’s decision to allow the building of a new church for the Syriac community in Istanbul, which will be the first new church to be built in the country in nearly a century.”

“It is the first [new church] since the creation of the Republic [in 1923]. Churches have been restored and reopened to the public, but no new church has been built until now,” a government source told AFP.

“The Council of Europe welcomes Turkey’s decision to permit a newly built Christian church in Istanbul as sign of diversity,” wrote Daniel Holtgen, spokesperson for the secretary general of the Council of Europe, said via his Twitter account on 7 January.

The state will allocate an area for the construction of the church in an Istanbul suburb. The area already has a number of Armenian, Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches.