Apr. 19, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Ten young men have been arrested for the brutal murder of 3 employees at a Christian publishing house in Turkey. But members of the country's tiny Christian minority remain appalled by media propaganda against the Church.

Halil Ibrahim Dasoz, the mayor of Malatya, announced that 10 suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of three people at the Zirve publishing house, a Presbyterian firm in the city. The three victims-- a German missionary, Tilnman Geske, and two Turkish converts from Islam, Necati Aydin and Uur Yuksel-- were bound and killed in an April 18 attack.

Several of the suspected arrested by Turkish police have reportedly confessed to killing the three Christians, slitting their throats "to save religion" and as "a lesson for the enemies of Islam." The killers were found carrying a following letter that read in part: “We are brothers. We are going to death. We may not return again…Forgive our debts.”

The young men involved in the killing were obviously motivated by Islamic zeal. There is some speculation that the assault on the Christian publishing house was organized by the Turkish arm of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. According to the director of the publishing house, Hamza Ozant, Zirve has recently been the object of threats. The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reports that the publishing house was threatened for publishing the Bible and for proselytism.

Christians living in Turkey report that they have been subject to threats and abuse, reflecting a campaign of propaganda depicting all Christians as threats to the country's Islamic majority. A Protestant minister, speaking to the AsiaNews service on condition of anonymity, said with regret that "no one one is courageous enough to really take a stand, to condemn not only this religious hatred, but also the mass media which with great subtly and cunning continues to brainwash people with propaganda which incites them to believe that we are evil, that we want to wipe them out, to take away their faith and turn them from their beliefs in the God of Mohammad."

The anti-Christian propaganda extends to Turkish government officials, and apparently influenced the public response to the killings in Malatya. AsiaNews reports that the mayor first attributed the killings to "internal clashes" among the Christian employees at Zirve, stressing that it was "not an attack." Local media reports suggested that the killings were prompted by the victims themselves, who enraged neighbors by engaging in proselytism.

Writing in Hurriyet about the latest killings, Ertugrul Ozkok said that "while there is only one handful of actual murderers involved, there are many, many assistants." He was alluding to the media campaign depicting Christians as enemies of the Turkish people.

The city of Malatya, in southeastern Turkey, is the birthplace of the would-be assassin of Pope John Paul II, Mehmet Ali Agca.


Teachings of Christ

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 ESV)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You did not honor a hand-depicted image, O thrice-blessed ones, * but defended by the undepicted Being you were glorified in a trial by fire. * And, standing in the midst of unbearable flame, you called upon God: * “Hasten, O Compassionate One, and speed to our help, * for You are merciful and You can do whatever you will.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

It is a fearful thing to hate whom God has loved. To look upon another – his weaknesses, his sins, his faults, his defects – is to look upon one who is suffering. He is suffering from negative passions, from the same sinful human corruption from which you yourself suffer. This is very important: do not look upon him with the judgmental eyes of comparison, noting the sins you assume you’d never commit. Rather, see him as a fellow sufferer, a fellow human being who is in need of the very healing of which you are in need. Help him, love him, pray for him, do unto him as you would have him do unto you.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk