On 18th April 2007, 3 workers at the Zirve publishing house in Malatya, Turkey, were brutally murdered, and a prominent Armenian journalist assassinated. 5 people were arrested at the scene of the murders and have been held under house arrest since March 2014, although the conditions of house arrest have not been enforced and they are allowed to walk freely around Malatya.
On 21st January 1015, the 101st hearing of their trial took place, and following this hearing 3 of the 5 defendants were released, much to the disappointment of the victims’ families, lawyers and the Christian community in Turkey.
During the trial, it became clear that a nationalistic organisation, known as Ergenekon, was associated with the attack on the publishing house. It was claimed that Ergenekon sought to destabilise the government through the Malatya murders and similar attacks on Christians. One of the lawyers representing the families of the victims explained that the relationship between the government and the former Ergenekon members had recently improved, and that the release of the three suspects is probably related to this.
Turkish Christians following the trial request our continued prayers that:
- The families and friends of the murdered Christians will know the peace and presence of Jesus, especially concerning the trial process
- Political manoeuvres will not affect the judicial process and that justice will be seen to be done
- The Christian community in Turkey will be encouraged and respond appropriately to the court decisions
- All those who aided or perpetrated the murders would have a deep conviction about what they have done, and understand the depths of Jesus’ forgiveness
- All Christians involved will know the Spirit’s enabling, equipping and assisting as they persevere in their efforts to promote justice
- All judges, other officials, lawyers and journalists involved will hear the gospel of Jesus, and be drawn to the Father’s love, forgiveness and acceptance.
Source: Middle East Concern