Turkey (MNN) — Five men accused of murdering three Christian workers went to trial in Malatya central Turkey last week.
At stake is Turkey's willingness to tackle persecution. Voice of the Martyrs Canada's Glenn Penner
explains: "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
The defendants face life sentences for tying up, torturing
and slitting the throats of Necati Aydin, 35, Ugur Yuksel, 32, and
German national Tilmann Geske, 46, on April 18 at the Malatya-based
Christian publishing house they ran.
Trial resumes January 14. Lawyers for the
defendants asked for more time to prepare their defense.
opportunities for Christians in Turkey to share the truth of Christ. Despite the government reforms to facilitate
joining the European Union, there is no indication of increasing religious
While the Turkish constitution includes freedom of religion,
worship services are only permitted in "buildings created for this purpose,"
and officials have restricted the construction of buildings for minority
religions. In other cases, those who
dare to profess Christ face harassment, threats and prison. Evangelism is
However, Penner says, "The church is continuing to move
forward, and Christians are continuing to witness. But, of course, it does
cause some anxiety. There have been a number of attacks on evangelicals in the
last two years, and they're wanting to know, 'Will our government stand up for
us? Will they defend us? Or will they allow us to be shot, killed and attacked