Thursday, May 31, 2007

Police complete investigations at Zirve - Turkish Daily News May 31, 2007

"The director of the Zirve publishing house, Hamza Ozant, spoke to the Turkish Daily News, choosing his words carefully.

'The police have finished their investigations in the publishing house and have handed it back to us. We will decide what to do in time,' he said. He explained that Zirve is not operating currently, but is not closed either.

The answer seems indicative of nervousness on the part of Christians in Turkey who have been under increased attacks over the past month. There were three attacks and attempts to burn down the church in Eskişehir in the past two weeks; the pastor of a church in Samsun has received serious death threats that claim "it will be worse than Malatya," if he does not leave. On Monday, two Georgian priests touring Turkey were beaten in Artvin because they claimed to be missionaries."

"ome of the city's Christians were hesitant after the killings, even considering going elsewhere to express their faith more openly, a Protestant living in Malatya said. Most of them, however, were relieved to hear that Zirve was staying in town. 'They don't want people to think that three people dying has made them give up their faith,' he explained. Zirve has been the most public face of the Christian community in Malatya and its closure would have given the wrong message. 'It would give the impression to people who sympathize with the killers that this kind of strategy works.'

Almost every day over the last month, he has had at least one phone call from locals giving condolences and expressing their regret for the killings. 'Most people condemn the attacks, but we have heard that more macho males have said 'that was good'; that they were glad the missionaries died,' he said.

But Malatya does not deserve to be remembered by the killings, and residents will not condone them, said İbrahim Göçmen, the editor-in chief and owner of the weekly Son Nokta. 'Malatya has lived with Armenian and non-Muslim citizens together until today, and goes on to live together as well. We hope that it does not happen again.'"
Police complete investigations at Zirve - Turkish Daily News May 31, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Turkey: Arrests In Plot Against Pastor

"Police in Diyarbakir, Turkey, have arrested six people suspected of plotting an attack against a Protestant pastor, according to a May 30 Turkish news agency report. Some of the detainees are thought to have had contacts with suspects involved in the April killing of three Christians in Malatya, Turkey. The pastor had said earlier that he was being threatened."

The Religious-Secular Divide and the Battle for Turkey's Future

"Religious Turks, despite their recent elevation from the fringes of Turkish society into the higher echelons of politics, still harbour resentment against the state. "It is retaliation time," as one shopkeeper told me during a recent visit to Turkey. "It is time to revolt against the excesses of Atatürk."

"Fears of such an Islamist revolution have led hundreds of thousands of Turks to march in various cities in the past month. Now, if the same zeal can be applied to the July 22 voting for president, the heart of the holiday season for non-AKP voters, there just might be hope for the great legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk."
World Politics Review | The Religious-Secular Divide and the Battle for Turkey's Future

Turkey Must Protect Minorities

"Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I wants Turkey's Christians to share the same rights as Muslims both in that country and in all Europe."

"Acknowledging the parliamentarian's presence, Bartholomew I observed, "Is it not a cause for celebration to see our Muslim brothers actively participate in the civil life of European Countries, as is witnessed by the presence here today of the German [member of the European Parliament] of Turkish origins, Cem Ozdemir?

"We do not only want the freedom to celebrate our faith within our churches, but also the recognition of all civil rights, just as our fellow Muslims in Turkey. The same civil rights which our Muslim brothers have, and rightly so, in Europe."
Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Exclusive Interivew: Father Jonathan in Turkey

Fox News video interview with Semse, the widow of Necati Aydin. - Exclusive Interivew: Father Jonathan in Turkey - FOX Fan

Malatya Martyrs: Oaks of Righteousness - World - CBN News

News report, with video, on the Malatya murders and the fallout afterward:

"The media unfortunately has repeatedly depicted missionaries as the fifth column of Western imperialism, and this Western imperialism supposedly tries to carve up Turkey into pieces," said Mustafa Akyol, Turkish Daily News.

And it's not just the media. Turkey's National Security Council has listed missionaries and several evangelical groups as threats to the country.

"They have set us up as a target for someone or whoever wants to make himself a hero," Jerry Mattix, missionary to Turkey, said. "and you know the government and the media are saying that these people are poisoning the minds of individuals and youth. And so anybody, any youth, will get up and say, 'Hey, you know if I kill one of these, then I'll look good.'"
Malatya Martyrs: Oaks of Righteousness - World - CBN News

Persecution Continues in Malatya

Since the events of last month, many events have happened to continue persecution against the Church in Malatya:

--Someone has made a list of the believers and workers, including pictures of many, and it is being circulated hand to hand, the purpose being to encourage action against the believers. 15 of the 30 members of the church have left.

--Believers in Malatya say that as a result when they are recognized on the street, people look at them and make a throat-cutting motion, meaning, "you're next!"

--One worker's name, picture and address were published in a national paper, again an encouragement to act against him.

--The "secret" depostion of the leading murderer was illegally leaked to the press by the police (the papers told enquirers that the police had supplied it). In the report he accused the murdered believers of outrageous things, like being linked to terrorists, of running a prostitution ring to attract people to Christianity, of insulting Turkey and Islam, etc. He also named believers from other cities whom he had met; their names and addresses and in some case pictures were in the paper; this is a common way of encouraging people to act against the believers.

Please continue to pray for the Church in Turkey.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


"Turkish newspapers have started leaking extensive details from secret police interrogations of the last of five suspects charged with murdering three Christians in Malatya last month.

In one of the most alarming reports, published on Sunday (May 20), accused killer Emre Gunaydin allegedly told police investigators that he had planned to murder another Protestant pastor after the Malatya attack."

"The daily Milliyet claimed on May 20 to have a copy of Gunaydin’s police deposition. According to reporter Tolga Sardan, the suspect claimed that a Turkish Christian he had met over the Internet told him that the governments of the United States and Israel were “behind” the activities of this pastor he wanted to kill.

“In Turkey, all this is meant to point him out as a target for an attack, and to put a price on his head,” Istanbul pastor Carlos Madrigal said yesterday. Three weeks ago the intended victim was offered and accepted security police protection offered by the government.

“We did not expect two of Turkey’s largest newspapers to print something like this,” Ankara pastor Ihsan Ozbek told Compass. Ozbek said he had written a letter of protest to the daily Milliyet, both for breaking the law and deliberately targeting individual Christians.

“How can the Turkish press get this secret information?” asked the targeted pastor who requested anonymity, calling Compass from his home, which the Turkish media have staked out since May 20."

"The leaked deposition was a clear breach of Turkish law, which forbids the release of initial interrogation transcripts on all criminal cases linked to terrorism."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Understanding Religious Expression in Turkey

"Despite the recent violence against Christians, I think Turkey as a nation, and Christian Turks in particular, are in a better place today than in many other moments of their past. Things, as a whole, have gotten better for non-Muslims in Turkey over the last 20 years and there are positive omens for continued development in this direction."

"The Islamist-friendly AKP party says they are tolerant of non-Muslims, but in fact, they have made it next to impossible for Christians to flourish in Turkey. The shrinking Orthodox community, for example, complains the government has closed down their seminary, refuses them legal status, and interferes in their internal affairs (like the election of their Patriarch). Even more importantly, Christians of all denominations complain the government has done little to squelch the anti-Christian sentiment promoted in public schools, the media, and in mosques (many of which have been built by government funds). The secularists, on the other hand, while lambasting the AKP party for Islamic extremism, are equally intolerant and extreme, I would say, in relation to religious liberty. They reject any public expression of religion. Out of fear of an imposition of Sharia Law, they fight against the use of the veil in public, prayer in school, and even expressions of personal piety of members of the military or other public institutions."

"Religion is not a cultural extra. It is an expression of human nature, and when it is subjected or denigrated by the government or restricted by any one religious sect, all of us lose. In this globalized world, what happens in Turkey matters to us all." - Understanding Religious Expression in Turkey - FOX Fan

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fox News Interviews Semse

“Thanks for letting us in your home under such circumstances. What would you like to say to America and to the world about your husband or anything else that’s on your mind?”

“I want to thank you because I don’t want the world to forget what happened. Because they killed my husband and his friends, and they left my children without a father. Their only wrongdoing was their belief in Jesus Christ, so I don’t want the world to forget what happened.”

• "Can you tell me what your last moments with your husband were like?”

“My husband had been in Germany for a conference a week before and he had just returned on Sunday so we only had two days together before he died. Wednesday morning I sent the kids to school early, so my husband didn’t see his children that day. At around 10:00 a.m. we had breakfast together. During breakfast, we were speaking about the Bible … the story of David and Gideon. Then we said goodbye and I never saw him again.”

• And, why did they kill him?”

“Just because of his faith. He was just killed because he was a believer, because he was someone who came from a Muslim family and became a Christian. And for some Muslims, they thought this person deserves to die.”

• I assume you must be dealing with a lot of anger?

“I’m not angry and I don’t hate them. But of course I want justice to be done and I want that we can live our faith in freedom in Turkey. I’m a bit worried that the court case won’t be properly done. That’s why I want a lawyer from Europe to observe it.”

• You seem peaceful and you have amazing strength.

“I forgive them, but I know I can only do this with the spirit of God.”

• What do you most remember about your husband?

“What I most remember is that he was full of love and he was a holy person. He loved us so much and made us happy. He was a close friend of my spirit, body, and soul. It’s torture for me to live without him. There are times that I miss him most. For example, yesterday my son Elisha fell down and hit his head. He began to cry. In that moment, I pictured what Necati must have suffered. Because I saw his body twice after he died, I know they beat him badly on his head. When Elisha cried I imagined Necati’s pain too.”

• And the kids, how are they doing?

“We teach the children to look to God, and they know Necati is in heaven with Jesus so they can get comforted. But they miss their father very much. For them, it is like half of who they are is gone.”

• Do you plan to stay in Turkey with your two children?

“Until Jesus calls me anywhere else, I want to stay here. My country, my home, my security is only in Jesus.”

Throughout our whole conversation, seven-year-old Elisha listened attentively. When he saw we were coming to a close, he asked if he could speak too. I looked to his mother to see if this was what she wanted, and she nodded. I handed him the mic, but he said he wanted to use the same one lapel mic his mother had been using. It seemed more professional to him, I think. We pinned it on his T-shirt, and he began to speak. He was calm, direct, and very mature. These were his exact words …

“My father was a very good man. He loved me, and I love him very much. My father was very good. I played with him many games and he loved me very much. Usually we went to school early when my father was still sleeping, but when we got back from school we embraced each other and he said, ‘welcome, how are you?’ My mother loved my father very much. My father was a very good man and he always loved me and I loved him. My sister loves my father, and my mother loves my father, and I love my father too. And he read the Bible for us. He could read the Bible very well. He played with me and did everything with me. I miss him and I love him. Because I miss him, he is missing me too. He loved me and was like Jesus." - Day Three: Father Jonathan Speaks to the Widow of Murdered Christian Turk - FOX Fan

Another Attack on the Church in Eskisehir

Last night at approximately 1:40 AM, the church building in Eskisehir was attacked again. Rocks and a moltov cocktail were thrown at the building, breaking a window and leaving marks on the outside of the building. Please pray for the salvation of the assailants and for the church to be strengthened during this time.

Friday, May 18, 2007

AKP-Dominated Istanbul Municipality Bans Swimsuit Ads

"When Istanbul swimwear manufacturers Kom, Nelson, Ay-Yildiz, and Zeki Triko attempted to rent billboards and other outdoor advertising space to promote their 2007 designs, they were told that the Istanbul municipality would not issue permits for their posters, as it deems them "against morality."

"The companies then applied to the municipality’s City Planning Directorate to obtain permits to display their ads on building facades, but permission was denied on grounds that the posters were "immorally provocative" – even those showing the most modest swimsuits.

The directorate also banned the fashion houses from displaying the posters even in their own manufacturing plants."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Christianity in Turkey

"I was immediately connected with the major leaders of the tiny Evangelical and Protestant communities throughout the country. I assumed these Christians would be hesitant to talk on camera, and thinking first of their safety, I certainly wasn’t going to push. But I was interested in hearing first-hand from them what the status of religious liberty is in their homeland, whether there is concern about future violence against them, and what the government is doing about it.

My assumption that they would prefer silence was wrong. They talked freely and fearlessly about their faith and the situation in which they live. “This is real martyrdom,” said one Christian from the city of Izmir, with whom I spoke only by phone. “When you, a loyal citizen, are killed for your faith, and for no other reason. It’s not the fake martyrdom of killing other people in the name of God. But we are not afraid. The early Church flourished in times of persecution. We will flourish too.”

"Looking for a Christian church in Turkey is like finding an apartment in Manhattan — not because there are so many of them, but because they literally look like ordinary apartments. Here, there are no high spires, beautiful facades, or church bells to draw you into Christendom. The churches just blend into their surroundings, so you have to have the exact address to find one."


“Okay, so how is your congregation doing in light of the recent killings? Are you afraid?”

He didn’t hesitate even a second. “Not at all! Jesus is our strength. I’ve been jailed many times, and beaten.”

“Beaten?” I replied, with emphasis of surprise. “But I thought it was legal to be Christian in Turkey?”

"It is,” he said, “but the police don’t know that, or don’t want to know it. They take us in, question us, sometimes rough us up, and then after a week or two, they let us go.”

“And why do they let you go?”

“Because they know if the case goes to court, there will be no law to incriminate us.”

Pastor Behnan repeated several times that he has nothing against the government. He is a loyal Turk, pays his taxes, and is grateful for the freedom of worship Turkish law permits. “Turkish law is good,” he said. “We can worship, and we can even translate and offer Bibles for sale. We never push them on anyone; but they can buy them if they want.”

But in practice, things aren’t so good. On account of widespread rumors, large percentages of the Turkish population are convinced Christians are a threat to national unity. Conspiracy theories abound that promote an environment of mistrust and fear of all non-Muslims. One rumor I heard from several Muslim Turks, for example, was that the CIA has trained and sent 40,000 Christian missionaries into the country to prepare an overthrow of the government.

I asked Pastor Behnan if the killing of the three Christians (whom he knew personally) was a random terrorist attack that could have happened in any country, or if, on the other hand, it was representative of a national problem. His explanation was clear, but not simple.

According to him, while physical acts against Christians have been rare, it would be inaccurate to say this was a random and isolated case. Ten young men worked together for many weeks to plan and carry out the torture and murder. They even pretended to be interested in Christianity to gain the trust of the men they would later kill. Pastor Behnan says this premeditated barbarism is fruit of the misinformation being spread to the masses by some Muslim religious leaders and even some high-level government officials. He says these men are purposefully creating an environment that promotes hatred of Christians, and as long as this sentiment spreads, people on the fringe will continue to carry out acts of violence in the name of religion and national unity." - Day One: Christianity in Turkey - FOX Fan

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Big Tea Party to Highlight Persecution in Tea-Producing Countries |

"Persecution watchdog Open Doors is to hold its first ever “Great Big Tea Party” this summer in an effort to raise awareness in the United Kingdom of the rising persecution against Christians in the world’s great tea-producing nations."

"The Tea for Thought booklet also highlights the volatile situation for Christians in Turkey, which came to international attention in April when Muslim extremists slit the throats of three Protestant Christian Bible workers in a Christian publishing house in the south east province of Malatya.

“This tragic incident is the latest example of a worsening trend of persecution against Christians in Turkey, that we cannot ignore any longer,” said Eddie Lyle, CEO of Open Doors UK & Ireland.

"We must ask ourselves the question, ‘What is it that causes young men to act with such violence and hate towards innocent people, living simply and going about their daily work?’”

He added, “The circumstances which generated such heinous crimes can not be allowed to exist, so that Christians in all countries are free from the fear of persecution and attack.”
Big Tea Party to Highlight Persecution in Tea-Producing Countries |

In Turkey's religious heartland, secularism thrives - International Herald Tribune

"In the not too distant past here in Turkey's religious heartland, women would not appear in public unless they were modestly dressed; a single woman was not able to rent an apartment on her own, and the mayor proposed restoring a segregation of the city's buses by sex.

Fears of those kinds of restrictions have led thousands of Turks to march in many cities over the past month, inflamed by secularist politicians. A political party with a past in Islamic politics, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has tried to capture the country's highest secular post. Once it succeeds, their argument goes, Turkey will be dragged back to an earlier era when Islam ran the state.

"But secular Turks, like those who took part in the recent protests, do not believe the religious Turks have changed. The mayor who proposed segregation, for example, is now part of Erdogan's party. They argue that the party might say it wants more religious freedom for its constituents, like allowing devout women to wear their head scarves in universities, but it has never laid out its vision for how to protect secular lifestyles going forward."
In Turkey's religious heartland, secularism thrives - International Herald Tribune

Monday, May 14, 2007

Culture of fear, hate and denial= Santoro, Dink, Malatya - Turkish Daily News May 11, 2007

"I will be very straightforward from the outset. I fear that (I wholeheartedly wish to be wrong), it is very possible that these murders will continue. Murders may take a different path targeting different people from different circles but, unfortunately, it seems that they will continue. It is really painful to say something like this. It hurts making such an annoying speculation. But unfortunately, three strong wake up calls were not enough for the Turkish society and the government to be alarmed and reflect upon what is going on in Turkey."

"My theory is very simple. What we are confronting in Turkey is a new phenomenon. We have gangs all over the country who are organized in a kind of al-Qaeda model, which means that they have unity of ideology (racist ultra-nationalism) but they are not directly connected to any one single center. They are open to manipulation and they are manipulated by some circles that have links with the illegal paramilitary groups.

These gangs are operating within and feed from an atmosphere of fear, hate and denial. To understand what exactly is going on in Turkey we need to look at the different layers, which are linked together and reinforce each other."

"First of all, we have a general atmosphere of fear created by many different political and bureaucratic circles and sometimes by the media. We also have a general atmosphere of denial and nonconfrontation. There are relentless hate speech campaigns reproduced everyday in Turkey."

"I will finish this hopelessly pessimistic article with a gloomy comment. If there is a serious danger in Turkey now it is not Islam or Sharia but it is extreme nationalism (From Turks and Kurds), racism, intolerance, xenophobia, hatred of other religions and you know what happens when they all come together. A quote from the Supreme Court of Canada: "the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers. It began with words. These are the chilling facts of history —the catastrophic effects of racism."
Culture of fear, hate and denial= Santoro, Dink, Malatya - Turkish Daily News May 11, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007


"Evangelistic activity is protected within the Turkish penal code, yet “Christophobia” has been fomented from all sides of the political spectrum- not just from Islamists. Government officials were quick to condemn the killings, but some declared that Christians and missionaries should shoulder some of the blame. Christians in Turkey number less than 1% of the population.

- PRAY that the Turkish government would enforce its extant religious liberty laws, and justice would be served to all who violate these laws.

- PRAY for Turkish believers to humbly serve and obey their Lord, regardless of the voices speaking against them

- PRAY that the light of the true Living Lord will be seen in the Turkish believers all across this populous land."

Attempt to Burn Church in Eskisehir

A young man attempted to set fire to a church building in Eskisehir last night. When dogs started barking he ran off and fortunately, the fire did not catch. Police are still investigating. He attempted to start the fire by placing papers and pouring fuel on them at 2 corners of the building.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Martyrdom in Turkey

"You see, in Turkey, the potent mix of radical nationalism and religious extremism can breed this type of violence against the perceived threat posed by the Christian West. Dr. Christine Schirrmacher, an Islamic studies scholar in Germany, puts it this way: For these extremists “the mere existence of Christians on Turkish soil [is] an immediate assault which threatens to undermine the unity and character of the Turkish nation.”

You may be wondering what you can do. First, pray for God’s protection of Christians in Turkey and for the Turkish government to reign in the violence against Christians. Next, you can give of your resources. The seminary where Necati studied has established a fund for the families of the victims and for the churches in Turkey. Visit our website,, for more information. Perhaps through our prayers and gifts, as the early apologist Tertullian once wrote, the death of these martyrs will indeed be the seed of the Church in Turkey."
Martyrdom in Turkey |

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Czech churches call on Turkey to guarantee religious freedoms - Prague Daily Monitor

"Pavel Cerny, chairman of the Czech Ecumenical Council of Churches, has called on Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg to exert pressure on Turkey to guarantee religious freedoms, Christian servers reported today."
Czech churches call on Turkey to guarantee religious freedoms - Prague Daily Monitor

Silent Protests across Spain for those killed in Malatya

"The assassination of 3 Evangelical believers in Turkey on 18th April has deeply touched the Evangelical Christians in Spain who know that during many years and in different countries of the world, Christians suffer persecution, torture, imprisonment or death as a consequence of living and sharing their faith.
The Evangelical believers in Spain have called a meeting in front of the Town Councils in the capital cities of every province and other cities on Sunday 6th May at 9.00pm with the purpose of sending a message of solidarity to our brothers and sisters that live in countries where they are persecuted because of their faith in Jesus Christ. The message is a double message:
1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! May our brothers and sisters know that we are praying for them and that we remember them in their suffering.
The following message will be written on a banner:
To the persecuted Christians in the world:
Spanish Evangelical Christians from (name of city)
In each meeting people will light candles during 30 minutes, in silence. The meeting will finish with people clapping in memory of the Christians who were killed on 18th April. Copies of this press release will also be distributed to inform those who attend.
This meeting is supported by a number of Evangelical organizations such as the Evangelical Council of Catalonia, the Spanish Evangelical Alliance and many other churches that are signing up to participate."
Por los Cristianos Perseguidos en el Mundo

Turkey: “Missionaries more dangerous than terror organisations” – Ministry of Justice

"A senior Turkish official is claiming “missionaries are more dangerous than terror organisations”. This comes as police arrest four Christian evangelists in Istanbul, and while Turkey is still reeling from the murder trial of militants who tortured and killed three Christians.

The statement, from the Ministry of Justice, comes amid concern over whether Turkey will remain a secular society. A senior judge has overturned the first round of elections that could have led to Turkey becoming an Islamic state."
Turkey: “Missionaries more dangerous than terror organisations” – Ministry of Justice :: Inspire Magazine

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Turkish Believers fear threats

"Turkey’s handful of Baptists and other evangelical Christians fear increased persecution as the nation continues to reel from political upheaval and the brutal murder of three Christians, allegedly by radical Islamists.

Meanwhile, Turkish Christians of all stripes, their allies in Europe and American officials are calling on the nation to prove its commitment to religious freedom."
The Baptist Standard :: The Newsmagazine of Texas Baptists

Turkey Church Leaders Receive Death Threats

"The World Council of Churches (WCC) said Wednesday, May 2, it has urged Turkish authorities to improve protection of Turkey's Christian minority amid reports of death
threats against key church leaders following the "savage murders" of three Christians last month."
ANN/Groong -- Turkey Church Leaders Receive Death Threats, World Council S

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Turkey's Christians Face Backlash

"The Assyrian Meryem Ana Church, nestled on a narrow cobblestone lane in this ancient walled city in eastern Turkey, has seen continuous use since about 300 A.D. But these days, its services rarely draw more than a handful of worshippers.

By contrast, the 4-year-old Diyarbakir Evangelical Church across the street, held a sturdy congregation of 40 this past Sunday -- mostly Islamic converts -- who were rocking and clapping exuberantly to a vaguely familiar hymn: A distinctly eastern rendition of Amazing Grace, accompanied by the saz, a long-necked Anatolian lute."

"There's a huge witch hunt that has been opened up in Turkey about missionary work," says Jerry Mattix, who has been working with the Diyarbakir church for the last five years. "The risk is that we live in an overwhelmingly Muslim society where certain segments of the society see you as divisive to the country. We are a target."

Church officials say their work has become both easier and harder in recent years. On the one hand, reforms associated with Turkey's European Union (EU) membership process have meant that proselytizing is now legal and that more churches have an opportunity to obtain legal status.

On the other hand, violent attacks against Christian targets are becoming more frequent. Last year, several evangelical churches were fire-bombed, and a Protestant church leader in the city of Adana was severely beaten by a group of assailants. Last February, Andrea Santoro, a Catholic priest working in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, was shot and killed by a 16-year-old."

"Last year, Rahsan Ecevit, the wife of late prime minister Bulent Ecevit, who was a paragon of the Turkish secular left, told the press that missionaries are working to divide Turkey and are paying Muslims to convert. "We are losing our religion," she said.

Salim Cohce, a professor of history and sociology at the state-run Inonu University in Malatya, says he believes that the missionaries working in Turkey are focusing on "on destabilization, manipulation, and propaganda."

"If they are not controlled, this can be dangerous for Turkey, " adds the professor, who claims that Turkey today has 500,000 of what he calls "crypto-Christians."

The influx of evangelicals joins a historical Turkish antipathy toward missionaries, who were active in the region during the final days of the Ottoman Empire and who were seen as little more than agents for the European powers that opposed the Ottomans.

Turkey's evangelists, meanwhile, say they would like to see the government take a more proactive approach against the antimissionary rhetoric and violence.

"Our congregation is used to this kind of thing, maybe not of this magnitude, but we have no fear," says Ahmet Guvener, the Diyarbakir Evangelical Church's gray-haired leader. "We are keeping our trust in God."
Turkey's Christians Face Backlash