9/14/2022 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – The Turkish Protestant foundation of Kurtulus Churches faces threats of murder from a young man claiming to be directed by an ultra-nationalist group, JITEM, a precursor to the Grey Wolves. The church is located in Malatya province, the same region as the infamous 2007 Malatya murders, where three Christians were tortured and killed for being “missionaries.”
Vedat Serin, a church member, was approached by a man identified as Tolgahan A., who threatened her several times over the past few months. Serin submitted a criminal complaint on September 5, and the church has since received the promise of protective measures from the Governor’s Office.
On August 25, Tolgahan A. approached Serin inside the church, claiming to find a Bible outside and considering it a sign. Once they began talking, Tolgahan revealed that he was a leader of a far-right group associated with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). According to him, members of the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-terror Unit (JITEM) approached him with the addresses and photos of Serin and other church members. He was told, “if you kill them, we will give you whatever you want,” and was given guns. After two failed attempts later to carry out the killings and the 2007 murders, the group’s pressure on T.A. lessened.
The man was detained and sent to court for arrest but was released under supervision. The church is now receiving protective measures to prevent a second massacre of Christians in Turkey. The ultra-nationalist groups, like the Grey Wolves, were adamantly against the spread of Christianity and told Tolgahan that the missionaries and churches were not good for the country.
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