Arson, not an accident, was the cause of the fire that broke out on the night of December 7, Sunday, at the building that is home to KKBD (Holy Bible Society) and KUT (Kadıköy International Community Church). According to Pam Ohanyan of KUT, thousands of Holy Books and CDs were destroyed in the fire that broke out on the floor where the library of the church was also located.
The local newspaper ‘KadıköyLife’ had previously claimed that the fire on the night of December 7 had been caused by a short cut in the electricity supply to the Christmas tree. However the security camera recordings of the building the church and association are located in have revealed that a suspect broke into the building and the fire began while the suspect was in the building.
CCTV suspect footage obtained
According to information provided by the Provincial Security Directorate to the Kadıköy Municipality, the suspect was detained on December 9, and arrested by the court on duty. However, the identity of the suspect, and whether he has really been arrested remain unclear. Four police officers who came to the church where the fire broke out on the morning of December 10 caused further confusion as they stated ‘that the suspect had not yet been arrested, and that the church and association had to file a criminal complaint’. On the other hand, the police has as of yet made no official statement to the church and association staff.
KKBD President Volkan Er explained that the camera recordings they have featured footage of the suspect, and that they would file an official complaint to the police to understand whether the detained person is the person in the footage. The Fire Department report regarding the fire has not been prepared yet.
It was also reported that the person claimed to be in detention was previously involved in another arson case.
‘This proves our church is under surveillance’
The Protestant Churches Association’s statement undersigned by Press Secretary Soner Tufan, pointed out that the Kadıköy International Church’s windows had been broken in a previous incident, “This most recent incident proves that our church is under close surveillance by those who are disturbed by our activities”. The Protestant Churches Association requested from newspapers to make the necessary corrections, and added in its statement, “We see no sensitivity displayed in the stance of the aforementioned newspaper which in this particular time of the year when attacks are carried out on individuals personifying Father Christmas – in one former incident a Father Christmas was stabbed with a knife – and attacks targeting Christians peak, claims with no evidence that the fire broke out from a short circuit in the electricity supply to Christmas tree lights and reports this to the public, and makes no corrections to its report despite the fact that a suspect has been detained for arson.”