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Susanne Geske, widow of martyr Tilmann Geske
Photo: Morning Star News

Turkish Christians have welcomed a positive court ruling in the long-running struggle for justice following the murder of three Christians in 2007. On January 26th, the Malatya Administrative Court ruled that the Interior Ministry and the Malatya Governor's Office were negligent in their duty to family members of the victims and, therefore, must give compensation.

Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were murdered on April 18th of 2007 at the Zirve Christian Publishing House in Malatya, a city of eastern Turkey. Five men, aged 19 and 20 at the time of the incident, were arrested at the scene and charged with the murders. It was believed that the Turkish authorities received information prior to the incident but had failed to protect the victims accordingly.

In 2008, the families of the victims opened a case against the Interior Ministry and the Malatya Governor's Office for negligence. The recent judgement of the Malatya Administrative Court, and its decision to award compensation, is a step towards justice being upheld. However, there is much discouragement surrounding the delays in the ongoing trial of the perpetrators of the murders. Although police arrested five suspects almost immediately after the crime was reported, prosecuting them has been problematic from the start. The judges have been changed at least twice, and the prosecutors four times, causing significant delays.

Especially galling to families of the victims, the five suspects in the trial were released on bail on March 10th, 2014 under a new reform law that reduced the allowable period of pre-trial detention from ten years to five. Under public pressure, authorities required the accused to wear electronic monitoring devices. Despite this, the release has caused concern among the families and friends of the victims due to previous threats made by the suspects. Yet, in the midst of the ongoing murder trial and their grievous loss, the families are greatly encouraged by God's promises and the faithful prayers of His people. To view a previous video clip on their situation, click here.

Please join our Turkish brothers and sisters in intercession, asking that those close to the victims will experience "the peace of God which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) and His protection as the murder trial process continues. Pray that the trial will be brought to a conclusion without further delay and that appropriate sentences will be given to those responsible for the crime. May all those who aided or perpetrated the murders have a deep conviction over the seriousness of their sin, and the immense pain it has caused the victims' families, not to mention our Heavenly Father's own heart...ultimately leading them to experience the depths of His forgiveness and provision of salvation through His Son Jesus.

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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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