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Missionary hunt, Malatya massacre and justice
ICC Note:

“In Turkey there is a ‘missionary hunt’ going on, just like the witch hunts of the Middle Ages.”

3/6/2011 Turkey (Today’s Zaman) – I am writing this piece just before going to Malatya to attend one of the hearings of the Malatya massacre case, which concerns the killing of three missionaries in 2007.
While I was looking for my file, I came across the press release that was announced by the Protestant community immediately after this horrible incident – an event so shocking, so awful, that the level of brutality was beyond imagination. Victims were killed by slitting their throats after many hours of torture. As the legal adviser to the Protestant community, I prepared the press release. It was of course very difficult to concentrate on anything. In spite of all this, I believe this statement to the press was a good reflection of the mood in 2007. Let us read a few paragraphs from this press release together:

“Turkey was buried yesterday in the darkness of the Middle Ages. For a long period of time the seeds of intolerance, racism and enmity against Christianity have been sown in Turkey. Now those seeds are being harvested one by one. The murder of Father Santoro, Hrant Dink, and the Malatya massacre are in a sense connected. It is very possible that after this incident we will listen to the same speeches that we have heard before and face the same old conspiracy theories; conspiracies concerning various intelligence organizations attempting to stir Turkey up will again be discussed. The dark forces that are trying to stop Turkey’s advancement will be addressed. The short-cut logic used will cast the problem wholly on ‘the others.’ After the shock has passed we will listen to the same chorus, the same song of intolerance; they will continue to sing the songs that turn the seeds of hate into a fruitful harvest. Without looking in the mirror, they will pretend the blood that has been spilt has not implicated them. Without feeling, they will continue on in their ways from the place they started.

“In Turkey there is a ‘missionary hunt’ going on, just like the witch hunts of the Middle Ages. With undying energy, almost every day, newspapers and the media spread news about the missionaries’ so-called treacherous plans, about how they have bought people. This is a witch-hunt. Just as during the Middle Ages when people thought to be witches were burned at the stake — with someone saying ‘so and so is a witch’ being the only requirement for a person’s death warrant — all it takes today is for someone to be called a ‘missionary’ and all kinds of attacks and insults openly occur. As seen in this incident, these attacks reach even to the level of vicious slaughter. But even after this attack, we wouldn’t be surprised if people came out and shamelessly said that those killed provoked the perpetrators of this crime by ‘selling snails in a Muslim neighborhood.’ We wouldn’t be surprised if the same people, without recognizing that they themselves are the ones provoking society, would try to show those who were massacred are the true provocateurs.”

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