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End of week key for Christians in Turkey

By May 13, 2010

Turkey (MNN) — Friday and Saturday are two dates central to
Turkey's Malatya Christian bookstore murder trial. 

On Friday, a judge is expected to decide if he'll combine
this case with another uncovering a plot to destabilize the Turkish
government. On Saturday, a verdict could
be announced in the trial dealing with the vicious murders in 2007. 

Rody Rodeheaver with IN Network says there are two hopes: one
is for justice, and the other is for truth. "The Christians really hope that this case will be put to rest. By that,
they mean the sentencing of these five individuals. But they also are praying
that this case will influence some of the other things that are
happening." 

Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, and German
Christian Tilmann Geske, worked at a publishing house that distributed
Christian material in this southeastern Turkish city. They were found brutally murdered three years
ago.

As the case began to wrap up, a hearing on April 21 brought
new evidence to light that indicated the perpetrators may not have been acting
on their own accord. According to
Compass Direct News, prosecuting lawyers asked the judge to join the Malatya murder
case to a plot called the "Cage Plan."

The Cage Plan is thought to be part of a "deep state"
operation to destabilize the government. Lawyers presented evidence that corroborated a plan led by retired
generals, politicians and other key figures.
More disconcerting, the evidence indicated this plan also targeted Turkey's
Christian minority leaders,  as well as some
of their children. Hearings for the Cage
Plan are expected to begin on June 15.

At the moment, it seems things are in limbo. However, there's a "silver lining" from the scrutiny. Rodeheaver explains, "This case served
to bring about the reality that the evangelical church is a legitimate entity
and that it is not the cult that it was made out to be." 

IN Network has programs in church planting and evangelism
carried out by a small church in Istanbul. Through personal visits, discipling
church members, and building them up in their faith, Rodeheaver says the Gospel
is making advances. He says, "The best way to evangelize in a
country like Turkey is to build relationships with your Muslim neighbors, to
build the kind of trust where you can have those conversations."

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