A planned visit by Taylor University students and faculty to the nation of Turkey has been cancelled for safety reasons following a bomb blast in the Turkish city of Istanbul. Ten people were killed in the bombing in Sultanahmet Square, a busy tourist location in Istanbul on Tuesday.
The trip, sponsored by Taylor’s Department of Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries and Philosophy (BSCMP) would have left for Turkey today and was part of a January class studying the New Testament Book of Revelation in which students led by Dr. Michael Harbin, BSCMP Department Chair, were to travel to Turkey to visit sites listed in the account.
Harbin, who has led trips to Turkey in the past, said while the group would have only been in Istanbul for the first couple of days, the bombing was in a location where they would have spent significant time because of its value to the course.
“The trip participants were all extremely disappointed, but understood the reason for the decision,” said Harbin. “This trip has been scheduled every January since 2009. It takes students to Turkey to visit a number of sites associated with the early Christian Church, including sites that the Apostle Paul visited, as well as the cities mentioned in the Book of Revelation, including Ephesus, Philadelphia, Sardis, Smyrna, Laodicea, and Pergamum, and some of the early monastic sites in Cappadocia.”
The Turkey trip was one of 17 overseas study and service trips offered during Taylor University’s January term (J-Term) in which nearly 300 Taylor students and their faculty sponsors have traveled to places around the world that include:
- Southeast Asia
- United Kingdom
“The opportunity to travel to international locations for studies, interaction with the people there, and the broadening of perspectives has been a hallmark of the Taylor educational experience for many years. And while those experiences are life changing for our students and faculty, their safety is always our first concern,” said Dr. Jeff Moshier, Taylor’s Provost. “The decision to cancel the trip to Turkey was a difficult but necessary step in making sure the wellbeing of our students and faculty members is not compromised.”
Harbin said he hopes the trip can be rescheduled next January. He added the students who were to have gone to Turkey this year will receive credit for the course because of the work which was already done on campus.