TURKEY: Lawyers seek removal of Malatya Judges

The trial of the five young people accused of the murder of three Christians in Malatya last April has been thrown into jeopardy after the lawyers representing the victims accused the judges of “obstructing justice”. The lawyers have repeatedly complained that the judges have refused them access to vital evidence ‚Äì including autopsy photographs and crime scene films. The judges have also refused (on three occasions) to allow the court proceedings to be recorded and the official court record contains only a summary of the evidence.

 

Lawyer Ozkan Yucel Soylu said, ” This is vital evidence if we are to properly cross-examine the defendants. It is our automatic right under the laws of Turkey. If this continues to happen, we will have to apply to the European Court of Human Rights, which will make it obvious that Turkey does not follow its own laws… we don’t have any trust in the court.”

The case has now been adjourned to Monday 17th March. (Compass Direct)

TURKEY: Malatya widows speak on TV as trial continues

Susanne Geske (left) and Semse Aydin were interviewed on CNN Turkey last week about the memories of their husbands who were murdered in the town of Malatya last April. In the interview, broadcast as the trial of five young people accused of the murders continued, the women spoke of their sadness and grief since their husbands were killed.

 

Susanne Geske also reiterated that she did not believe that the slaughter was plotted only by the five young men. “I want to know who put these five people up to this, to find those who are behind the curtain,” she said.

 

In comments headlined by the Turkish press following the latest court hearing, Susanne Geske declared that she and her children who are still living in Malatya wanted to visit the alleged murderers in prison.

“We want to meet with the killers, but I am waiting for the right time. I don’t want to ask them questions; I just have something to say. My children are asking, ‘When will we go to them?'”

 

In chilling testimony of the final hours of Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske, accused killer Hamit Ceker stated before Malatya’s Third Criminal Court, that during the savage attack on Zirve Publishing Company’s office on April 18, he saw leading suspect Emre Gunaydin slit the throats of two of the Christians. Hamit Ceker denied that the group of young conspirators had planned to kill the two former Muslims who had converted to Christianity or their German colleague although he admitted that they had brought along guns and a lengthy section of rope, and that each of them carried a newly purchased knife, a pair of plastic gloves and an Islamic jawshan (protective prayer inscription).

 

Ceker confirmed under questioning that the group had performed special Muslim thanksgiving prayers together early on the morning of the murders. But he said he didn’t know the meaning of that ritual nor why they did it. In answer to his lawyer’s question as to whether he had in any way helped the men who were tied up on the floor, Ceker claimed he had loosened the cords tightly binding Ugur Yuksel’s wrists, and even slipped a packet under his head.

 

Ceker’s comments, which came near the close of the 10-hour hearing, brought a verbal outburst from Semse Aydin, widow of Necati Aydin. “They went there to kill our husbands, and then they say they did things to make them comfortable!” the widow cried out in the courtroom. “This is contemptible!”

 

The trial has been adjourned until 25 February. (Compass Direct)

TURKEY: Press prints scandalous allegations against Malatya victims

Many Turkish newspapers have published articles containing wildly false allegations against the three Christians (Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel & Tilmann Geske) who were murdered in April at a Christian publishing house in Malatya, southeastern Turkey.

 

The allegations come as final preparations are being made for the opening of the trial on Friday 23 November of the five young people (four men and a woman) charged with the murders.

 

Turkish newspapers have sensationalised some scandalous allegations appearing in the official interrogation statements of the accused. All the reports were based primarily on an initial release from the Anatolian Agency, a semi-official news source close to the Turkish government.

One headline read, “Missionaries were linked with the PKK,” highlighting the murderers’ claim that the three Christians had “praised” the violent, separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The terrorist PKK group has killed more than 40 Turkish soldiers and civilians during the past month near Turkey’s southern border with Iraq. At least 30,000 Turkish citizens have died in clashes between the PKK and the Turkish military since 1984.

 

Most of the news reports also repeated the claim of Emre Gunaydin (alleged ringleader of the group) that the Christians were forcing local girls into prostitution.

 

“It is clear from these statements of the suspects that there is some group of powerful influence behind them,” said Isa Karatas of the Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey. “These people want to portray Turkey’s Protestants as enemies of the nation. At the same time because honour is such an important concept in our culture, they are trying to accuse us of having weak morals, so that they can find a justification for their murders.” (Compass)

TURKEY: New Details about Malatya Murders Plot

New details have been publicised in the Turkish media about the plotting behind the murder of three Christians (Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel & Tilmann Geske) in April at a Christian publishing house in Malatya, southeastern Turkey. The Firat (Mediterranean) News Agency (ANF) reported that an anonymous e-mail message signed simply, “A.A.” had named a colonel in the Malatya gendarmerie (armed security police), along with an Islamic university student, as instigators of the plot to kill the three Christians.

TURKEY: “After Malatya…” dossier presented to Turkish Embassy in Dublin

Yesterday in Dublin, Tom Slattery (Director of Operations, Evangelical Alliance Ireland) and David Turner (National Co-ordinator, Christian Concern for Freedom of Conscience) presented a dossier to the Turkish Embassy titled
“After Malatya…”

TURKEY: Five charged with murder of three Christians

Five people (four men and a woman) have been charged with the murder of three Christians (pictured) last Wednesday in the Zirve Christian publishing house in the town of Malatya in southeastern Turkey. The five accused, who are all aged between 18 and 20, appeared in court on Sunday. Turkish police are waiting to interview the alleged ringleader, Emre Gunaydin, who was critically injured after jumping from a fourth floor balcony of the publishing house.

TURKEY: Three Christians killed in Bible bookstore

Three Christians were brutally murdered on Wednesday in south eastern Turkey. Five attackers entered the Zirve Christian publishing house in the town of Malatya in the early afternoon. They bound the three men present to chairs, blindfolded them and then slit their throats.

TURKEY: Christians accused of “anti-Turkishness”

Two Turkish Christians (who are converts from Islam) went on trial in Silivri (northwestern Turkey) on the eve of the Pope’s recent visit accused of “anti-Turkishness”. The trial of the two men Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal (pictured) attracted national publicity and a cluster of TV and newspaper journalists covered the opening hearing of the case.

TURKEY: Yakup Cindilli continues to recover

Turkish Christian, Yakup Cindilli, is still recovering from severe injuries inflicted in October 2003 by ultra-nationalists accusing him of “missionary propaganda.” Yakup (who became a Christian in 2001) was savagely beaten while distributing New Testaments.

“After more than 40 days in a coma,” the pastor of the Bursa Protestant Church commented, “it’s a miracle that Yakup is alive today.” Trial against his attackers was postponed for 15 months so the court could determine the extent of Yakup’s injuries.

Free to Choose Petition presented to Turkish Embassy

Earlier this month, the Ambassador of Turkey, Mr Ahmet Berki Dibek (pictured), received the Free to Choose petition from David Turner and Louis Hemmings (CCFC). The petition was accompanied by a dossier documenting individual cases of the violation of human rights of Christians in Turkey during the past year.

The petition document, which has been signed by 2,185 people in Ireland calls for Muslims who choose to convert to another faith to be free to do so without having to face a lifetime of fear as a result.