Rick McEdward, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Middle East and North Africa, joined Adventist believers across the region in praying Tuesday for those affected by deadly suicide bombings at Istanbul’s main airport — an attack that felt particularly close to home because regional church administrators and their families often fly through the Turkish air hub.
Dozens of people were killed and injured when three attackers armed with bombs and guns detonated their explosives in a nighttime confrontation with police at the entrance to the international terminal of the Istanbul Atatürk Airport, one of Europe’s busiest, news reports said. No one claimed immediate responsibility for the attack.
“As a church family and as a MENA staff we are praying for the families of those killed and for those who are in hospitals recovering,” McEdward said in an e-mailed statement.
MENA is the acronym for the Adventist Church’s Middle East and North Africa Union, which McEdward leads.
“Because Istanbul is one of the main airline hubs for the region, this attack feels close to home,” he said. “Our staff and families travel through this airport frequently.”
A group of people from the Adventist world church’s Secretariat department traveled through the airport earlier this week after attending meetings in Turkey.
“At this time we don’t know of any Adventists who have been affected personally,” McEdward said. “Nonetheless, the attack today in Istanbul sends another shockwave through our hearts.”
He said the attack served as a reminder of the need to be personally vigilant and to be prepared for any event.
“As Adventists, we are called to carry the light in crisis and tragedy,” he added. “So we look at every event as an opportunity to live God’s love and to share about Christ’s return when these kinds of tragedies will be no more.”
"We are shocked by this tragic event. May our thoughts and prayers comfort all the affected people of Turkey. We pray that violence and hatred may cease - in Turkey, and all around the world", so the Inter-European Public Relations Department.