In response to the killing of three Christians, including one German, in the Turkish city of Malatya last week, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg said Christians, who are a minority in Turkey, “cannot be second or third-class citizens.”

The archbishop, who is also president of the Committee for the Universal Church of the Bishops’ Conference of Germany, stressed that “Christians should enjoy the same rights guaranteed by politics, the law, the media and public opinion.”

Likewise, he said religious freedom in Turkey must be guaranteed.  “The equality of all citizens, regardless of race and religion, and the equality of rights of all religious communities in a country are sources of peace and an effective protection against the attack upon minorities,” the German archbishop said.

“Respect for human rights, including the expression of religious freedom, is an important condition for Turkey to advance in Europe,” Archbishop Schick said, demanding that the Turkish State investigate the crime as soon as possible and to “punish those responsible.”