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Bible publishers Tilman Geske, Ugur Yüksel and Necati Aydin, who all worked at the Zirve Publishing House in Malatya, were brutally killed on April 18, 2007. Families ask Christians pray that political manoeuvres will not affect the judicial process.
On 21st January, the 101st hearing into the trial of the murder suspects responsible for the killings of Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske was held in Malatya, according to Middle East Concern agency.
These murders occurred on 18th April 2007 at the Zirve publishing house in Malatya. Following the hearing, three defendants were released, much to the disappointment of the victims' families, lawyers and the Christian community in Turkey.
The five perpetrators arrested at the crime scene had already been released from prison in March 2014 and have since been allowed to live at home with their families. Even though four of the defendants have electronic tagging devices attached (the other must report daily using his house telephone), they have been seen moving freely in Malatya. The authorities are aware of the situation, but so far have failed to address the violation of the conditions of house arrest.
During the trial, it became clear that a shadowy nationalistic organisation, known as Ergenekon, was associated with the attack on Zirve publishing house. It was claimed that Ergenekon sought to destabilise the government through the Malatya murders and similar attacks on Christians, including the assassination of prominent Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. As a result, further arrests were made of those suspected in planning the murders in addition to the actual perpetrators.
One of the lawyers representing the families of the victims, Erdal Dogan, explained that after 17th December 2014, relations improved between the government and the former Ergenekon members and that the release of the three suspects is probably related.
PRAYER REQUESTS OF TURKISH CHRISTIANS
Turkish Christians following the trial request our continued prayers that:
- The families and friends of the murdered Christians will know the peace and presence of Jesus, especially concerning the trial process
- Political manoeuvres will not affect the judicial process and that justice will be seen to be done
- The Christian community in Turkey will be encouraged and respond appropriately to the court decisions
- All those who aided or perpetrated the murders would have a deep conviction about what they have done, and understand the depths of Jesus' forgiveness
- All Christians involved will know the Spirit's enabling, equipping and assisting as they persevere in their efforts to promote justice
- All judges, other officials, lawyers and journalists involved will hear the gospel of Jesus, and be drawn to the Father's love, forgiveness and acceptance.