Turkey (MNN) — Five men are in custody for the grisly murders of three workers at a Christian publishing house in Turkey. The men, aged 19-20, are accused of entering a Bible publishing house in the southeastern city of Malatya April 18th and killing three men, one a German national who worked there.
Court papers released Sunday say “The investigation of the prosecutor has resulted in four being charged with founding a terrorist organization and murder within the framework of the organization.”
SAT-7’s David Harder says the case hit close to home. One of the victims, Necati Aydin, was husband and father of two young children. He was also an amateur actor who “played the role of Jesus Christ in a theater production that TURK-7 broadcast over the Easter holidays. So here is a man who was playing the ultimate sacrifice, who himself was called upon to give his own life and become a martyr because he loved Jesus.”
The Christian community and the staff of TURK-7 (an indigenous Turkish television ministry which broadcasts four hours a day on SAT-7’s Farsi and Turkish channel) is in shock. Christians make up less than one percent of the population of Turkey, and church members as far away as Istanbul knew the three victims.
Harder says there’s concern that persecution could be worsening. Yet there’s an upside. He goes on to say one of the widows appeared on national Turkish television and publicly forgave her husband’s killers. Her faith in action is likely to prompt many questions. “People do question and wonder about what Christians really believe. Is it just a cultural thing or is it
something that really does change their lives? From the broadcast of the widow who was able to forgive these attackers, that alone is a testimony and something that the Lord can use for people who have questions.”
SAT-7 seeks to encourage and support the local Christian community and also to help all viewers come to a better understanding of Christianity. In a statement, Terence Ascott, CEO of SAT-7, says, “We are praying for the families, for the Church and for the nation, that God will bring some good out of this terrible tragedy…. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and all the victims and the Church in Turkey.”