Malatya trial reveals unsettling implications for believers

By June 11, 2008

Turkey (MNN) – Recent testimony in Turkey's Malatya
slayings trial revealed unsettling issues. 
In the seventh hearing on Monday, a witness confirmed that Turkish security
forces had been keeping a close eye on the three Christians' alleged missionary
activities prior to the brutal killings in 2007. 

So while the government may claim ignorance, Open Doors'
Carl Moeller says, "If they're watching such a tiny group of Christians so
carefully, it's impossible that they would not also be aware  of clandestine ultra-nationalists or
terrorists wanting to attack them. So
even though terrorist groups may be carrying out these attacks, it is with the
knowledge that the government possesses, that the government is not intervening
and protecting Christians." 

On April 18, 2007, Tilmann Ekkehart Geske of Germany, and Turkish citizens Necati Aydin
and Ugur Yuksel were slaughtered at the Zirve Publications building in Malatya
where they worked.  

According to a report from Compass Direct, testimony from Monday's proceedings corroborates
a letter e-mailed to Turkish Protestant church leaders naming the men behind
the savage murders.

The five suspects are implicating another person, blaming each other, and facing new charges.  However, the repercussion beyond the trial
could stifle ministry. 

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. More than that, there
is a convention of the land that to be Turkish is to be Muslim, and to be
Muslim is to be Turkish. 

Mission groups have indicated that they are viewed with
suspicion and their actions are viewed as an affront. That can also create an aggressive response against those thought to be
a threat against Turkey.   

Moeller explains, "It is typical of persecution to attack
the heart. If you can create fear and you can create a 'chilling effect' on
evangelical witness, you're going to hurt the progress of the church and the
growth of the church. So Open Doors is
continuing to encourage the believers there on the ground."

Please pray for the slain men's families. Two widows, five young children and a fiancée
survive them. Pray, too, for
opportunities for Christians in Turkey to share the truth of who Jesus is with
those around them.

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