Christians in Turkey request prayer for the ongoing trial of the defendants implicated in an assassination attempt against a Turkish pastor in 2013.
On 16th January 2013 police from the anti-terror squad arrested thirteen people in connection with a plot to assassinate Pastor Emre Karaali (pictured) of Izmit Protestant Church. Pastor Emre learned about the plot from the television after the governor of Izmit made a statement to CNN Turk.
Five of those arrested had attended the church and a police search of their houses revealed detailed information about Pastor Emre and his routines. In total, nine folders of evidence were submitted to the court.
Twelve of the defendants were released after three days of detention, the leader of the group, Ferhat C., was also released after one month and all defendants have since been free, despite regular calls from Pastor Emre’s lawyer for their apprehension and detention.
The trial began on 1st April 2014 at Kocaeli (Izmit) Criminal Court. The defendants admitted working for MIT, the Turkish intelligence agency, but denied any intention to kill Pastor Emre.
The lawyer uncovered evidence that the defendants were answering to an army captain, Levent Birsen, and a police chief, Hasan Erdogan, implicating them in the plot. Although the judge Yusuf Coskun was initially hesitant to include members of the police and armed forces in the trial in October 2016, he finally ordered that the captain and the police chief be investigated and included in the judicial process.
As with the Zirve trial of those behind the murder of three Christians in Malatya in 2007, the evidence points to collusion between state authorities and those intending to perpetrate the crime.
On 23rd February the 11th hearing of the trial is scheduled to take place.
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Christians in Turkey request prayer that:
a. the defendants, especially the captain and police chief, will be present in court to answer questions
b. the truth about the assassination plot and all those involved will be revealed, and that all conspirators will face justice in a timely manner
c. justice will be seen to be done, encouraging the Christian community in Turkey and deterring future attacks against churches and church leaders