Friday, November 30, 2007
Five on trial in Turkey Christian workers' slayings
Turkey-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 threat."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.Pray for 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 freedom.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 difficult.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 with impunity?'"
As in the days of Noah....