Canadian Diplomat’s Grave Moved in Turkey after Muslim Complaints

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The National Post – December 14, 2010

The remains of a Canadian diplomat buried in Turkey were reportedly forcibly removed from a local cemetery after a prominent Muslim family said they weren’t comfortable praying next to a Christian grave. Hans-Joachim Himmelsbach, 65, a retired trade commissioner from Vancouver who was living in Turkey, died about three weeks ago after suffering a blood clot to his brain while he was recovering from a throat operation, his stepfather, Heinz Koletzko, said in an interview.
Mr. Himmelsbach was buried in a Christian ceremony at a local cemetery in Bodrum, a tourist resort community on Turkey’s south Aegean coast. Mr. Himmelsbach’s family obtained permission from the municipality for a priest to perform the ceremony, Mr. Koletzko said, as is required in Turkey for religious groups not officially recognized by the state.
But his wife, Ilknur Himmelsbach, a Turkish citizen, told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review that Mr. Himmelsbach’s grave was recently moved against her wishes to a remote area of the cemetery at the request of a local Muslim businessman who felt Mr. Himmelsbach was buried too close to the family plot.

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