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Martyrs’ Murder Trial in Turkey Nov 6

The trial of those who murdered three missionaries in Eastern Turkey earlier in the year is getting ready to begin. This report gives you a sense of how things can work there. For those of you who do not know the PKK is the Kurdish Party that has caused Turkey no lack of grief over the last several decades as they press for freedom.

The trial of those who murdered three missionaries in Eastern Turkey earlier in the year is getting ready to begin. This report gives you a sense of how things can work there. For those of you who do not know the PKK is the Kurdish Party that has caused Turkey no lack of grief over the last several decades as they press for freedom. The recent tensions between the USA and Turkey are over the role of the Kurds and the PKK in Turkey and in Northern Iraq. Hurriyet is one of Turkey’s most widely read papers. We shall key an eye on this trial, as well as other sites where persecution takes place.

Here is the report from Turkey:

ISTANBUL, November 5 (Compass Direct News) – Malatya’s Third Criminal Court has set November 23 to open the trial of the confessed murderers of Turkish convert  Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and a German Christian, Tilmann Geske. All news about the pending trial in the Turkish press last week sensationalized justifications the killers offered for their crimes while under police interrogation, including far-fetched allegations against the victims. The three Protestant Christians were tortured and killed by having their throats cut on April 18 of this year in the Zirve Publishing Company’s office in the southern province of Malatya. "It is clear from these statements of the suspects that there is some group of powerful influence behind them," spokesperson Isa Karatas of the Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey told Compass. "These people want to portray Turkey’s Protestants as enemies of the nation." 
 
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Malatya Murder Trial Set to Open in Turkey
Local press sensationalizes killers’ justifications for deaths by torture.
by Barbara G. Baker
 
ISTANBUL, November 5 (Compass Direct News) – Malatya’s Third Criminal Court has set November 23 to open the trial of the confessed murderers of Turkish convert Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and a German Christian, Tilmann Geske.
 
All news about the pending trial in the Turkish press last week sensationalized justifications the killers offered for their crimes while under police interrogation, including far-fetched allegations against the victims.
 
The three Protestant Christians were tortured and killed by having their throats cut on April 18 of this year in the Zirve Publishing Company’s office in the southern province of Malatya. 
 
After six months of confidential investigations, criminal prosecutors in Malatya had filed formal charges against the five accused killers on October 15, demanding the jailed culprits serve three consecutive life sentences in prison for their crimes.
 
Defendants Emre Gunaydin, Abuzer Yildirim, Hamit Ceker, Cuma Ozdemir and Salih Guler are accused of founding an armed group and murdering the victims in a deliberate, organized manner. The five killers are 19 and 20 years old.
 
An additional seven persons have also been charged for allegedly "aiding and abetting" the murder culprits. According to reports in the Turkish media, these seven unnamed suspects have not been arrested.
 
News on the pending trial date in the Turkish press sensationalized some scandalous allegations appearing in the killers’ official interrogation statements. All the reports were based primarily on an initial release from the Anatolian Agency, a semi-official news source close to the government.
 
One headline of one of the most repeated claims read, "Missionaries were linked with the PKK," highlighting the murderers’ claim that the three Christians had "praised" the violent, separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
 
The terrorist PKK group has killed more than 40 Turkish soldiers and civilians during the past month near Turkey’s southern border with Iraq. At least 30,000 Turkish citizens have died in clashes between the PKK and the Turkish military since 1984.
 
Sabah newspaper’s headline quoted Emre Gunaydin, the alleged ringleader of the five killers, as saying, "We committed murder out of fear they would harm our families."
 
One newspaper, the widely circulated Hurriyet, targeted a Protestant pastor in western Turkey by naming him in its headline. The report quoted Gunaydin’s claim that he had planned to travel to kill the pastor once they had murdered the other three. 
 
Most of the news reports also repeated Gunaydin’s claim that the Christians were forcing local girls into prostitution.
 
"It is clear from these statements of the suspects that there is some group of powerful influence behind them," spokesperson Isa Karatas of the Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey told Compass. "These people want to portray Turkey’s Protestants as enemies of the nation. 
 
"At the same time," he added, "because honor is such an important concept in our culture, they are trying to accuse us of having weak morals, so that they can find a justification for their murders."
 
The slayers had claimed the motive for the gruesome torture and murder of Aydin, Yuksel and Geske was to stop Christians from defaming Islam and the Turkish nation. 
 
The three Christian victims left behind two widows, five fatherless children and a fiancée.

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Copyright 2007 Compass Direct News
 
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4 Comments

  • Avatar

    Jo Anne

    The PKK has been in the news
    The PKK has been in the news quite a lot these last weeks, but this article makes the problems there more personal. More ethnic problems among the Kurds and Turkey? As is common now-a-days, there doesn’t seem to be any satisfactory solutions to the political turmoil within that entire region.

    What a horrible murder! While I was reading, all I could think of was that this had once been the home of the 7 Churches of Revelation and one of the centers of Paul’s missionary activity.

    Does anyone know how extensive the Christian population is there?

  • Avatar

    bock

    Population In Turkey dlb

    I am not sure how well populated this eastern region is for Christians. Not as concentrated as in the West of Turkey for sure and less than 1% of Turkey is Christian! Something like 5000 Christians in a country of 80 million– and most of these are in the western part of Turkey. This was a region of missionary activity almost starting from scratch.

     

    dlb

  • Avatar

    nicoduca

    The decision to reopen a
    The decision to reopen a murder case which involved the killing of three Christian workers in Turkey by the Turkish Interior Ministry is describe as a test case by a Christian persecution-monitoring ministry.

    Glenn Penner, a spokesperson from the Voice of the Martyr Canada, said the re-opening of the case, where the Ministry is currently conducting a judicial investigation into the state prosecutors mishandling of the murder trial, would determine whether Christians living in the Muslim-majority country would feel as a full-fledge citizen or not.

    “If the killers are allowed to simply get away with lesser charges, or it’s seen that these murders were somehow justified on the basis that these Christians were involved in missionary activity, then Turkish Christians are certainly going to feel that they’re not equal members of society, and that their religious activities are going to continue to be under threat,” Mr. Penner told the Mission Network News (MNN).

    This case illustrated, Mr. Penner continued, whether the Turkish government was serious about defending the rights of Christians living in the country which has the aspiration of joining the European Union.

    John Candelin, the executive director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), had sent a letter to the Turkish Prime Minister, which called on him to come out publicly to state the missionary activities carried out by Christians were good.

    Furthermore, the WEA was also helping the families of the three Christian martyrs killed by the Muslim fanatic by helping to fund the children’ education.

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