The incident at the Italian church in Istanbul took place around 11:40 (0840 GMT) at Santa Maria church in the Sariyer district.
Two masked men carried out the attack, targeting an individual identified as C.T. who was attending Sunday’s service. The victim lost his life in the gun attack.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya stated that the assault seemed to be a targeted attack against one person rather than an attack on the Catholic church. “We strongly condemn this vile attack,” Yerlikaya said.
Approximately 40 people attended the mass, and security footage showed the attackers wearing black snow masks and sunglasses.
After the incident, Pope Francis expressed support for the Santa Maria community during his Angelus prayer at the Vatican. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani condemned the attack, offering condolences and supporting Turkish authorities in their efforts to apprehend the perpetrators.
The motive for the attack on the Italian church un Istanbul remains unclear, and an investigation is underway. Istanbul governor Davut Gul reported no injuries, and Turkey’s ruling AKP party spokesman, Omer Celik, affirmed a comprehensive investigation by security forces.
“Our security forces are conducting a large-scale investigation into the matter,” he said. “Those who threaten the peace and security of our citizens will never achieve their goals.”
The assault occurred a week after Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.