Sunday, April 29, 2007



BosNewsLife, Hungary
April 26 2007


ISTANBUL, TURKEY (BosNewsLife)-- There was increased concern
Thursday, April 26, about the plight of active Christians in Turkey
after investigators revealed that three evangelical believers were
"satanically tortured" last week before being killed.

The influential American human rights group International Christian
Concern (ICC) with website told BosNewsLife that
the circumstances surrounding the deaths of German Tilman Ekkehart
Geske, 45, and Turkish Christians Necati Aydin, 35, and Ugur Yuksel
,32, at the Christian Zirve publishing house were even worse than

ICC, based in Washington DC, said the troubles began on Easter
Sunday when five of the alleged killers had been to a service that
Pastor Necati arranged in the eastern town of Malatya, the capital
of Malatya province.

The men were reportedly known to local believers as searching for
the faith in Christ. The suspects, one of whom is the son of a mayor
in the Province of Malatya, are part of a tarikat, or a group of
"faithful believers" in Islam, ICC added.

Tarikat membership is "like a fraternity membership" and means that
"no one can get into public office without membership" of such
a group, ICC said. "On the day of the killing, the young Muslim
men had arranged to meet the Christians at 10:00 am [local time]
to ostensibly learn more about the Bible. They had gathered guns,
bread knives, ropes and towels [as] they knew there would be a lot
of blood, ready for their act of service to Allah," ICC stressed.


After Necati read a chapter from the Bible the assault reportedly
began. "The young men tied Ugur, Necati, and Tilman's hands and feet
to chairs as they videoed their work on their cell phones," ICC said,
adding that what "followed in the next three hours is beyond belief."

ICC said the men were "disemboweled, and their intestines sliced up in
front of their eyes. They were emasculated and watched as those body
parts were destroyed." The group added that "fingers were chopped off"
and "their noses and mouths and anuses were sliced open" as part of
what it called "satanic torture."

It added that "possibly the worst part was watching as their brothers
were likewise tortured. Tilman was stabbed 156 times, Necati 99 times
and Ugur's stabs were too numerous to count."

Finally, their throats were sliced from ear to ear, and their "heads
practically decapitated," ICC said.

Several hours later at 12:30 local time a fellow Christian reportedly
arrived at the publishing house but discovered that the door was
locked from the inside. After he called cell phones of the men, Ugur
apparently answered his phone saying: "We are not at the office. Go
to the hotel meeting. We are there. We will come there." Yet as Ugur
spoke he heard in the background weeping and a strange snarling sound,
ICC said, citing its investigation.


After he phoned police the nearest officer arrived in about five
minutes and pounded on the door shouting: "Police, open up,!" reports

Initially the officer apparently believed it was a domestic
disturbance, but when he heard another snarl and a gurgling moan he
understood that sound as human suffering, ICC explained. The officer
"prepared the clip in his gun and tried over and over again to burst
through the door. One of the frightened assailants unlocked the door
for the policeman, who entered to find a grisly scene."

Reports said the attack happened following Muslim protests against
the distribution of Bibles and other Christian literature by the
publishing house for which they worked.

One of the victims, Necati Aydin, a husband and father of two young
children, was also an actor who reportedly played the role of Jesus
Christ in a theater production that TURK-7 network aired over the
Easter holidays.


Prosecutors have asked a court to allow jailing 11 suspects, 10 young
men and a woman, pending trial over the gruesome murder of the three
Christians. A 12th suspect, allegedly the leader, remains in hospital
with a serious head injury after jumping from the third-floor office
of the Christian publishing house in Malatya where the victims were
killed, to escape arrest.

At least four of the suspects have reportedly been charged with
"founding a terrorist organization and murder within the framework of
the organization." In a first reaction, Tillman's wife publicly forgave
the those who killed her husband saying "they know not what they do."

ICC President Jeff King said he was impressed by the "contrast between
the acts of the killers and the forgiveness of Tillman's wife." He
said it was "glaring and in the end seems to be at the center of this
story for us. For in the end, these events serve as a stark reminder
of the difference between Islam and Christianity."

He added that, for "the 'faithful' Muslims, following their god meant
brutally killing three men [with the excuse] "we did this to protect
Islam". For the faithful Christians, following God meant forgiving
the men who had tortured and murdered their loved ones."

The attacks have added to concern among Turkish Christians who comprise
about 0.2 percent of the mainly Muslim nation of over 71 million
people. The murders followed the January murder of Turkish-Armenian
journalist Hrant Dink and the shooting of Italian Roman Catholic
priest Andrea Santoro in the town of Trabzon in February 2006. (With
reporting from Turkey).

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