Thursday, July 10, 2008

Malatya trial reveals unsettling implications for believers

Turkey-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.
Pray for justice in this situation.
Pray that the trial does not traumatize the children.

As in the days of Noah...

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