Four killed in Turkey bible publisher attack

Three people had their throats cut and a fourth person also died after jumping from the third floor office in a bid to escape from an attack on a Christian publishing house in Malatya, Turkey.

Quoting Turkish paper Hurriyet, AsiaNews reports that assailants killed four people late on Wednesday morning at the offices of Zirve, a Christian publishing house that distributed Bibles in the city of Malatya.

Three of the four victims had their throats cut, one of them being the owner of the publishing company. The fourth victim died after jumping from the third floor where he was working in order to escape.

Still under shock, Zirve's general manager Hamza Ozant was on his way to the publishing house's offices but was able to tell a TV network that his company had been receiving threats.

Founded a year ago, it had already requested police protection for its employees. One reason is that many people in Turkey resent the publication and distribution of Bibles in Turkish.

Although Mr Ozant said he could not say who made the threats, suspicions fall on Turkish ultra-nationalists, especially since the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Dink Hrant.

Coincidentally, both Mr Hrant and Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, were born in Malatya.

The victims had their feet and hands tied and had their throats slit, Malatya Governor Halil Ibrahim Dasoz told the NTV news channel, an AFP report added.

"One of them is highly likely to be a German, the other is believed to be a Turk. The third is also likely to be a Turk, but we still have doubts," Dasoz said.

An aide to the Malatya governor told Agence France-Presse that the publishing house "was engaged in missionary activities."

According to AsiaNews, Zirve is probably a Protestant publishing house since Protestants are the only ones who distribute Christian texts in the country. Catholics also rely on them to have their own material printed.

Four killed, three with their throats cut, at Bible publishing house (AsiaNews, 18/4/07)
Execution killings at Christian publishing house in Turkey (Sydney Morning Herald, 19/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Malatya, Turkey
Mehmet Ali Agca

19 Apr 2007

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