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Published on 14 March, 2012

Turkey’s justice moves forward…slowly

Turkey (MNN) — Compass Direct News says the suspects arrested in Turkey's 2007 Zirve
Publishing House murder case were before the court last week telling their
story once more.  

The original case
stems from the brutal murders of three people (Necati Aydin and Ugur Yüksel and
Christian German national Tilmann Geske)
who sold Christian literature in a publishing house in the eastern province of
Malatya.   

IN Network USA
president Rody Rodeheaver explains, "There
were several young men who were caught red-handed in this situation. But there
has always been the feeling that the people who wielded the knives were not the
people who really were behind this."

The arrested are accused of having masterminded and instigated
the April murders as part of Ergenekon's plan to lay the groundwork for a
military takeover. Rodeheaver says that led to more
investigation which uncovered the dark underbelly of Turkey. "They felt that it was a shadowy group
called 'Ergenekon' which is a terrorist group at the highest levels of the Turkish
military; their goal is to undermine the Turkish government and to keep
them out of the European union."

The reason the  judges of
the Third Criminal Court of Malatya wanted to hear the testimony was so
they could prepare another part of the case that links the suspects to the masterminds. So far, that's been a tough call. Rodeheaver says, "There is a concern on the part of the
Christian church that an indictment will not really go deep enough because the
lead prosecutor and the head judge were taken off the case, and there's always
been a fear that this was the starting of a cover-up."

An indictment of the masterminds
behind the murders is expected on April 9 if it process true justice. The
trial hearings for the murders of the three Christians continued slowly last
year amid advances in investigations and the replacement of key personnel–a
move some think was intended to slow justice even more.

Compass Direct says while there were 20 suspects arrested in
connection to last year's investigation connecting Ergenekon and Malatya, only seven of them are still in custody–five of whom are in the
military. Their report goes on to say
evidence garnered from a CD which surfaced was enough to connect the country's agenda, the Malatya murders, and
fees for the slayings.

IN Network doesn't have a direct link to the case, but what
effects one part of the body affects them all, says Rodeheaver. "If I had any message for the Christian community
around the world, it would be to pray that this case would actually do what it
was really intended to do — and that would be to find those who were guilty of
these crimes."

IN Network faces both the scrutiny of terrorist groups and
the threat of violence. These can be very distracting, Rodeheaver admits. "There
have been some spikes in some places trying to intimidate Christians: threats, assassination
plots, things like that. But this is a pretty normal lifestyle for the Christians
who live in this kind of environment."

Last December, an Al Qaeda plot targeting churches came to light. At
the same time, Ergenekon threatened to assassinate IN Network's country
director.

While the incidents are unnerving, they won't stop the outreach. Church
Planting and Evangelism are carried out by a small church that was planted in
Istanbul, through personal visits, discipling church members, and building them
up in their faith.

The I.N. Network in Turkey also works with Internet Evangelism —
a "door-opening" forum to chat with those who do not know Christ. A new constitution is in the works, so there
is some hope for believers, especially with the advocacy that's come into play
with the Greek Prelate.

Turkey is poised for change, notes Rodeheaver. "Anything
that changes in Turkey will change because the people of God are praying. Turkey
is a very pivotal place in terms of assisting the Christian church to be the
church all over the world."

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  • Primary Religion: Islam
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