Monday, April 04, 2011

Zirve as litmus test for Ergenekon

Last week, it published correspondence displaying how paranoia about missionaries and Christians in Turkey was manipulated by Ergenekon, and with the publication of this correspondence, the big picture of the murder of Christian missionaries in Malatya was completed. And prosecutor Zekeriya Öz was “promoted” away from the Ergenekon investigation the day he touched on the “theologians” factor that provided the link between the missionary issue and the Zirve massacre. The timing of his removal was really meaningful.

We have been informed that the US Embassy in Ankara sent a letter to Turkish officials, expressing their concerns about the emerging harsh discourse targeting minorities and Christian missionaries, particularly in 2005, and warning that it may lead to violence. In his letter to then-State Minister Mehmet Aydın, then-US Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman said: “As you will recall, during our meeting I had said that I was concerned that Turkish officials’ anti-Christian discourse, coupled with a general rise in nationalist sentiments, may pave the way for violence against Christians. Shortly after our meeting, I learned that two assailants threw incendiary bombs at the International Protestant Church in Ankara early in the morning on April 21.”

On April 1, 2005, political counselor in Ankara John Kunstadter sent a cable to Washington, reporting two years before the Zirve Massacre that the situation in Malatya was very serious. He wrote that he went to Malatya on March 22, 2005, and met the members of the Protestant community there. A Christian British national told him that the Protestant community in Malatya consisted of 20 people from four families and they were concerned about the recent increase in publications against Protestants in local papers during the past 18 months.

By looking at future developments in the Zirve case, we will understand whether the Ergenekon investigation is going to continue at full speed, as officials promised, after the removal of prosecutor Öz.

So I call on everyone to watch this historic case attentively.


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