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Christian martyrs, Necati Aydin,
Ugur Yuksel, Tilmann Geske
Photo Courtesy Compass Direct News

Turkish Christians are requesting prayer in response to three long-standing court cases involving injustice against Turkish believers.

There continue to be complications in the ongoing trial of the five men charged with the vicious murder of three believers at a Bible-publishing house in Malatya in April 2007 (click here for more) as a result of efforts to identify those behind the five suspects. The trial has been underway since November 2007. On March 17, twenty people suspected of being involved in the slayings of the three Christian men, Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske, were arrested. The arrests were seen as a victory for the victims' family members. In another recent development, however, a chairman of the judges' panel was taken off the case after being promoted to a higher court, and it is feared that the introduction of a new judge could cause further delays in the complex trial. The next hearing is scheduled for April 29.

In another ongoing case, Hakan and Turan Topal, two Christians accused of insulting Turkey and its people by spreading Christianity, continue to wait after appealing a conviction and fine for supposedly collecting data illegally. The men were cleared of other serious charges in October 2010, but given a hefty fine of 4,500 lira (approximately $3,200 CAD) (click here for more). The current case relates to their work with a Bible research centre providing correspondence courses.

Finally, a ruling has reportedly been given in a land ownership case, against the St. Gabriel Monastery in eastern Turkey, which began in 2009. In January, the Supreme Court ruled against the monastery, thereby assigning ownership of some land within its long-standing boundary wall to the Turkish Treasury. The ruling followed several postponements, and the case is but one of five on-going cases involving the monastery.

Pray that family members and friends of the three men killed in Malatya will continue to know the peace of Jesus as the trial process continues. Pray that all those who aided or perpetrated the murders will have a deep conviction about what they have done, and understand the depths of Jesus' forgiveness. Pray that Hakan and Turan will be acquitted. Pray that the true ownership of land surrounding St. Gabriel Monastery will be accurately identified. Pray that Turkish Christians facing opposition will know the Spirit's enabling, equipping and assisting as they persevere in their efforts to share the gospel.

Find out more on the trials facing Christians in Turkey at the Turkey Country Report.

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Country Information

Population
82,482,383 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Turkish (70-75), Kurdish (19), other minorities (7-12)

Religion (%)
Islam (99.8), other (0.2)

Leader
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2014)

Government type
Parliamentary republic

Legal system
Civil law system derived from various European continental legal systems

Sources: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Turkey

Prayerfully uphold those who have had their churches and places of worship taken over by a government that does not represent their beliefs, values or ordinances. Ask the Lord to oversee the mediation process as church officials and government representatives endeavour to work out a solution that is both honouring to Him and fair to all the members of the various churches. Despite the challenges experienced by the believers of this country, may they have a sense of God's reassuring presence and peace, knowing that one day He will reign supremely and justly over the entire earth.

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