Friday, September 02, 2005

Persecution in Turkey described as worsening despite new law - (BP)

Here's a link to the full article I posted yesterday:

"Bektas Erdogan never expected his Christian faith of 11 years to jeopardize his career as a fashion designer in Turkey.

Hired five months ago by a designer jeans company in the Beyazit district of Istanbul, Erdogan was assured by his Muslim employer that he would be evaluated on the basis of his work, not his religion.

After his first collection sold successfully in Russia, Erdogan thought the phone call he received from his employer -- asking him to come to work on a Sunday afternoon -- boded well. Maybe there was a surprise company dinner.

But that evening at the shop, his employer angrily accused him of “missionary work” and “brainwashing,” according to an Aug. 30 report by Compass Direct news service.

The employer, with the help of two employees and a relative, beat Erdogan for two hours, Compass reported; the men repeatedly struck the designer’s head and face with their fists and the butt of a pistol. Three times Erdogan’s employer attempted to shoot him, but the gun failed to fire, Compass reported.

“He really wanted to kill me. It wasn’t just to scare me,” Erdogan told Compass, recounting that he prayed for help and meditated on Bible verses while his attackers threatened to murder him and hide his body.

The two co-workers released the 32-year-old Erdogan with a swollen and bloody face around 9 p.m., warning that they would kill him later. Since then, he has received three anonymous phone calls threatening his life, Compass reported.

Erdogan told Compass he did not report the Aug. 7 incident to police, fearing that his employer’s ties with local officials might make him the target of further aggression. He also felt that once the authorities learned he is a Christian, they would be unwilling to help.

Erdogan told Compass he believes that his employer’s anger stemmed from shop employees’ interest in Christianity. During his last three months at the job, Erdogan said, “Almost every meal [at work] became a question-and-answer session about my religion.”
Persecution in Turkey described as worsening despite new law - (BP)

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