Sunday, February 15, 2009

2 more arrested in massacre of Christians:Suspects in deaths of trio killed at publishing house

Two more men have been charged in connection with the deaths of three Christians at a publishing house in Malatya, Turkey, including a former volunteer worker at the business, according to a new report. WND has reported on the case since a widow of one of the slain Christians created a tidal wave of reaction in mostly-Muslim Turkey by expressing forgiveness for the attackers. Five individuals earlier were named as suspects in the attack at the Zirve Publishing Co. office in Malatya April 18, 2007. All five already have appeared in court to answer counts stemming from the deaths of Tilman Geske of Germany and Turkish nationals Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel. Authorities reportedly have said the three met several Muslims for a Bible study, then were tied up, stabbed and tortured for several hours before their throats were slit.According to Compass Direct, which has been documenting the case, a Turkish court in its most recent hearing charged a former volunteer worker as well as a former journalist suspected of having ties to a group that allegedly tried to engineer a political coup.Compass reported the arrests added to evidence that the murders were the result of a plan to create chaos in the nation, instead of just an attack by so-called troubled youth.One new suspect is Varol Bulent Aral, 32, who was accused of instigating the murders. The report said Aral has been linked to Ergenekon, a "ultranationalist" affiliation of leaders from various industries, including the nation's mafia.Also accused was Huseyin Yelki, 34, a Turk who had volunteered for Zirve, officials said.Two others, Mehmet Gokce and Murset Kocadag, are suspected but not yet arrested in the case, the report said.Named earlier as defendants were suspected ringleader Emre Gunaydin, Salih Guumler, Cuma Ozdemir, Hamit Ceker and Abuzer Yildirim.They have been in jail for the past 18 months awaiting court proceedings.The report said the Ergenekon organization previously was blamed for murders of other high-profile Christians.Christians, who make up less than 1 percent of the population in Turkey, have been subjected to numerous attacks in recent years. In 2006, a Turkish teen shot to death a Roman Catholic priest as he prayed in his church. Two other priests were attacked the same year. Early in 2007 came the death of Armenian Christian editor Hrant Dink.When the publishing house attack became known, Geske's widow, Susanne, responded in a way that hit the front pages of the nation's largest newspapers."Oh God, forgive them for they know not what they do," she said, echoing the words of Christ on Calvary (Luke 23.34), according to a letter Christians in Turkey wrote to the worldwide church, released through Voice of the Martyrs."In a country where blood-for-blood revenge is as normal as breathing, many many reports have come to the attention of the church of how this comment of Susanne [Geske] has changed lives," said thet letter. "One columnist wrote of her comment, 'She said in one sentence what 1,000 missionaries in 1,000 years could never do.'"Titled "A letter to the Global Church from The Protestant Church of Smyrna," the letter was publicized shortly after the slayings by Voice of the Martyrs, the ministry organization that works with persecuted Christians.VOM noted that 2,000 years earlier, this location of Christians was addressed in Rev. 2:8-11: "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write… 'Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.'"The letter told of a Bible study planned that morning involving the three Christians and apparently five Muslims who had been invited."No one knows what happened in the hearts of those men as they listened to the gospel. Were they touched by the Holy Spirit? Were they convicted of sin? Did they hear the gospel in their heart of hearts? Today we only have the beginning of their story," the letter said."The young men got guns, bread knives, ropes and towels ready for their final act of service to Allah. They knew there would be a lot of blood. They arrived in time for the Bible study, around 10 o'clock," the letter said. "Reportedly, after Necati read a chapter from the Bible the assault began. The boys tied Ugur, Necati, and Tilman's hands and feet to chairs and as they videoed their work on their cellphones, they tortured our brothers for almost three hours."
As in the days of Noah....

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