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Slaughter of the Innocents

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference International Christian Concern and include our web address Contact Jeff King, President, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, [email protected]

(April 19, 2007) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC), has just become informed that Turkey has detained 5 more suspected accomplices in the gruesome execution of 3 Christian workers. These deaths are only the latest in a string of attacks aimed at Christians. In 2006, a priest was murdered while praying, and two other priests were attacked. In January 2007, a Christian journalist was gunned down outside his newspaper office.

I was in downtown Washington , DC yesterday on the way to a USAID conference of hundreds of NGOs that were gathering to coordinate their work of trying to make the world a better place when I heard the news. Three Christians in Turkey (2 Turks, 1 German) had been slaughtered. Their hands bound, their throats slit. A fourth died as a result of injuries sustained from jumping out of the window trying to escape the killers.

The two Turks who were slaughtered like animals were Necati Aydın and Uğur Yüksel. Necati was a convert to Christianity from Islam. Necati was a husband and father of two young children. He had met his wife when he boarded a bus and the only available seat was next to a girl who was reading her Bible. He was intrigued and began to ask her questions about the Bible. Eventually, they married. Uğur was trying to save up money to get married to his engaged sweetheart.

Necati and his coworker Uğur lived in Malatya , a known center of Turkish nationalism (it is the hometown of Mehmet Ali Agca, the gunman who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981).

While they are generally described as “Bible workers” in the press, what is not known is that they were devoted to their city and to Turkey .

They had a love for Turkey and wanted to make it a better place. In fact, they had recently been involved in the work of rehabilitating 3 Turkish (not Christian) schools that had fallen into disrepair.

These small life details always seem to get lost in cases like these where victims become symbols for greater struggles.

In the end, they were simple, gentle, and kind Turks whose blood was wasted by overzealous youth intent on protecting Turkey from its 1% Christian population. Hürriyet newspaper quoted one of the suspects as saying, “We didn’t do this for ourselves, but for our religion…Our religion is being destroyed. Let this be a lesson to enemies of our religion.”

Turkey has long been a moderate center of Islam, existing as a bridge between the East and West, Christianity and Islam. It is an amazing country with wonderful people and an assortment of historical and Biblical landmarks that will leave you spellbound.

Turkey presently stands at a crossroads as they debate issues of nationalism, Islamic radicalism, and entry into the EU. We pray that Turks would mourn the death of these two as Turks first and Christians second, and denounce their loss as a loss to Turkey and as a sign of where things will head if they do not deal firmly with increasing radicalism in their country.

ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to serve persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Assistance, Advocacy, and Awareness to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.

Picture available upon request.