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Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tillman Geske
were three men Semir had worked with
before they were martyred.
Photo: Compass Direct News

Semir Serkek, a 58-year-old pastor in Instanbul, Turkey, says although he has experienced hostility from Muslims nearly all his life, an attack over the Easter weekend was the first time he had been physically assaulted.

Semir was alone at Grace Church preparing for the next day's Easter celebration when he heard frantic pounding at the door. Four young men in their late teens claimed they had questions and demanded to enter. They then threatened to kill him if he didn't recite the Islamic testimony of faith, and after a period of verbally harassing the pastor, one of the men kicked Semir in the chest, knocking the pastor down a set of stairs. The men then ran away laughing.

However, the attack did not deter Semir from attending a memorial service for three Christians murdered in Turkey five years ago. Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were brutally murdered by five young men in the southeastern city of Malatya in April 2007 (for more information, click here). Semir said he personally knew the three men because he worked with them at the same publishing company for many years.

The United States Commission on International and Religious Freedom has recommended that Turkey be designated as a "Country of Particular Concern" this year due to Turkey's long-term and systematic limitations on non-Muslim communities. There are about 4,500 Christian converts in Turkey.

Please pray that the men who attacked Semir will repent and be saved. Please pray that Semir's continued faith will bring God glory. Pray that the commitment of Semir and the three martyred Christians will serve to encourage other believers in Turkey that, although they are hard pressed on every side, they will not be crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8).

Go to the Turkey Country Report for more on the persecuted Church in Turkey.

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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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