Friday, May 28, 2010

Trial over 'Insulting Turkishness' Again Yields No Evidence

The 11th hearing of a case of alleged slander against two Turkish Christians closed just minutes after it opened this week, due to lack of any progress.

Prosecutors produced no new evidence against Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal since the last court session four months ago. Despite lack of any tangible reason to continue the stalled case, their lawyer said, the Silivri Criminal Court set still another hearing to be held on Oct. 14.

“They are uselessly dragging this out,” defense lawyer Haydar Polat said moments after Judge Hayrettin Sevim closed the Tuesday (May 25) hearing.

Court-ordered attempts to locate and produce testimonies from two witnesses summoned three times now by the prosecution had again proved fruitless, the judge noted in Tuesday’s court record.

Murat Inan, the only lawyer who appeared this time on behalf of the prosecution team, arrived late at the courtroom, after the hearing had already begun.

“At this point, we are tired of this,” Tastan admitted. “If they can’t find these so-called witnesses, then the court needs to issue a verdict. After four years, it has become a joke!”

Topal added that without any hard evidence, “the prosecution must produce a witness, someone who knows us. I cannot understand why the court keeps asking these witnesses to come and testify, when they don’t even know us, they have never met us or talked with us!”

Both men would like to see the trial concluded by the end of the year.

“From the beginning, the charges against us have been filled with contradictions,” Topal said. “But we are entirely innocent of all these charges, so of course we expect a complete acquittal.”


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Turkey: update on trial of murderers of Christians

Turkish Christians request our continued prayers that:

a. Family members and friends of the victims will continue to know the peace of Jesus as the trial process continues

b. Justice will be done concerning the perpetrators, and that those behind them will be identified

c. There would be renewed international attention towards this trial

d. 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

e. The judges, other officials, lawyers and journalists involved will hear the gospel of Jesus, feel the Spirit's conviction of sin and be drawn to the Father's love, forgiveness and acceptance

f. All Christians involved will know the Spirit's enabling, equipping and assisting as they persevere in their efforts to promote justice

Thursday, May 13, 2010

End of week key for Christians in Turkey

Mission Network News
Friday and Saturday are two dates central to Turkey's Malatya Christian bookstore murder trial.

On Friday, a judge is expected to decide if he'll combine this case with another uncovering a plot to destabilize the Turkish government. On Saturday, a verdict could be announced in the trial dealing with the vicious murders in 2007.

Rody Rodeheaver with IN Network says there are two hopes: one is for justice, and the other is for truth. "The Christians really hope that this case will be put to rest. By that, they mean the sentencing of these five individuals. But they also are praying that this case will influence some of the other things that are happening."

Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, and German Christian Tilmann Geske, worked at a publishing house that distributed Christian material in this southeastern Turkish city. They were found brutally murdered three years ago.

As the case began to wrap up, a hearing on April 21 brought new evidence to light that indicated the perpetrators may not have been acting on their own accord. According to Compass Direct News, prosecuting lawyers asked the judge to join the Malatya murder case to a plot called the "Cage Plan."

The Cage Plan is thought to be part of a "deep state" operation to destabilize the government. Lawyers presented evidence that corroborated a plan led by retired generals, politicians and other key figures. More disconcerting, the evidence indicated this plan also targeted Turkey's Christian minority leaders, as well as some of their children. Hearings for the Cage Plan are expected to begin on June 15.

At the moment, it seems things are in limbo. However, there's a "silver lining" from the scrutiny. Rodeheaver explains, "This case served to bring about the reality that the evangelical church is a legitimate entity and that it is not the cult that it was made out to be."

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Turkey Ignores Christians Delaying Armenian Patriarchal Election

Turkey Ignores Christians Delaying Armenian Patriarchal Election ...
The Armenian Patriarchate in Turkey has once again delayed the election of the community's Patriarch because the authorities in Istanbul do not give the appropriate go-ahead for the elections to take place.

Originally the elections of the Armenian Patriarch were scheduled for May 12. However, as Austrian Catholic Press Agency and DomRadio from Germany report, the election is postponed. The Turkish state has not yet approved the election.

The Interior Ministry of Turkey has not yet responded to the request made by the election committee of the Armenian Patriarch on January 14 of 2010. According to the Turkish regulations the Interior Ministry must give it's approval for a new patriarch to be elected in country's Christian churches: something unheard of in European Union member countries.