Turkish Christians request prayer for what could be the final hearing in a long-standing murder trial following the killing of three Christians in Malatya in 2007. Court officials informed a relative and a Turkish church leader that a verdict will be issued at the end of the 114th hearing on 28th June.
Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were murdered on 18th April 2007 at the Zirve Christian publishing house in Malatya in eastern Turkey. Five men, aged 19 and 20 at the time, were arrested at the scene and charged with the murders. Their trial became increasingly complicated as a result of efforts to identify those behind the perpetrators. Many more people were arrested and brought to court, including a colonel in the gendarmerie and three army officers, although these additional defendants are likely to be acquitted, according to local press sources.
On 10th March 2014 the five perpetrators were released from prison and put under house arrest with electronic tags.However, they have been seen moving around freely – to the dismay of relatives of the victims and the small Christian community in Malatya.
It is anticipated that many family members of the victims as well as consular officials and members of the press will be present at the hearing tomorrow. The prosecutor has demanded that each of the five men caught at the scene of the crime receive three life sentences.
Despite the horror of the murders, Turkish Christians recognise that the incident led to a change in the attitude of Turkish society through greater acceptance of the church and of believers from Muslim backgrounds. The mainstream Turkish press also responded and refrained from using hate speech against Christians – something that had occurred frequently prior to the murders in Malatya.
MAY BE CIRCULATED TO GENERAL MAILING LISTS AND OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS, AND QUOTED FROM FREELY IN REPORTS CITING “MIDDLE EAST CONCERN” AS THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION.
Turkish Christians request our intercession, asking that:
a. family members and others close to the victims will continue to know the peace and protection of Jesus
b. just sentences will be handed out to those responsible for the crime
c. all those responsible for the murders would have a deep conviction about what they have done, and seek Jesus’ forgiveness
d. the Christian community in Turkey will be encouraged and strengthened as the trial reaches a conclusion
e. all judges, other officials, lawyers and journalists involved will be drawn to the Father’s love, forgiveness and acceptance