Turkish Christian murder suspects on terrorism charges

Four young men and a woman have been charged with terrorism offences over the murder of three workers at a Christian publishing house in the eastern Turkey city of Malatya.

The Courier-Mail reports that the four men, aged 19 and 20, were captured at the crime scene where a German and two Turkish converts to Christianity were tortured and had their throats slit last Thursday.

They were charged with setting up a terrorist organisation, and murder, prosecutor Mustafa Demirdag told Anatolia news agency.

The 18-year-old woman was charged with aiding a terrorist group, he said.

She has been identified as the girlfriend of the alleged leader of the gang, Emre Gunaydin, 19, who remains in hospital with a serious head injury after jumping from the third-floor office of the publishing house to escape arrest.

The murders followed the killings of a Catholic priest last year and an ethnic Armenian journalist in January, fuelling concern that nationalism and hostility against non-Muslims is on the rise in Turkey.

The three victims, who belonged to the tiny Protestant community in Malatya, were tied to chairs and tortured for three hours as the assailants interrogated them on their missionary activities and then cut their throats.

The Zirve publishing house distributed Bibles and published Christian literature.

The police raided the building, alerted by a local who grew suspicious when he found the office door locked, and captured four men there.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said she was troubled by an "unacceptable intolerance" in Turkey, a membership candidate.

The German victim, Tilmann Geske, was buried in Malatya, where he had lived since 2003.

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference also denounced the murders today. Its secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said he felt compelled to condemn the "grisly crimes because their perpetrators linked them to Islam".

Terror charges over Christian murders (Courier-Mail, 24/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Andrea Santoro (Wikipedia)

Arrests over Turkey Bible publisher murders (CathNews, 20/4/07)
Four killed in Turkey bible publisher attack (CathNews, 19/4/07)

24 Apr 2007

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