More on the Martyrs in Turkey

From my Christian friend in Turkey. A little long, and some parts have been removed, and a few names too, but overall a very important story. Especially see the part at the bottom about the future of the Christian mission to Turkey (in bold):

Dear brothers and sisters,
We would like to give you an update about what
happened last Wednesday (18 April 2007) in Malatya,
Turkey
.

As you know last Wednesday five young people killed
our three brothers. They didn’t only slit their
throats but they tortured them almost two and a half
hours. Two killers first became friends with our
brothers. They said they became Christians and they
even went out to give out free New Testaments on the
streets with them. They also joined the Easter service
in Malatya. Last Wednesday morning they went to the
office and began to chat with our friends. Then three
other men came to the office and the tragedy began
after that. They had pistols and knives and threatened
them and then bound their hands and feet. They put
gags in their mouths. They first slit the German
brother’s throat in the other room. They began to
torture our Turkish brothers. One of the doctors who
conducted the autopsy told one of the national
newspapers that he has never seen something like this.
The killers cut Ugur’s penis, anus and different parts
of his body. They did the same thing to Necati too.
There was a very big hole at Ugur’s throat. They
knifed them more then 150 times. Maybe you can ask
yourselves why we are giving you these details.
Because this shows how much our brothers were in pain.


Another brother who was not at the office at that
time went to the office and tried to open the door
with his key. He discovered that the door was locked
inside. He then called Necati and asked him if
everything was okay. Necati told him they were not at
the office and having a meeting in a hotel and he told
him not to come to the office. He understood something
was wrong as he also heard some one was crying in
pain. He immediately called the police and tried to
open the door. When the policemen came to the office
the people inside didn’t open the door. The police
said they cut the two Turkish brothers throats while
the police were trying to open the door. The leader of
the attackers tried to escape from the balcony. He
fell down from the third floor and is still in coma.

I was planing to go to Malatya last Wednesday. I
talked to some other Christian friends on the phone
and they told me many Christians were going there and
they told me to go to Izmir for Necati’s funeral.

U’s family got his body and did an Islamic
funeral for him in his village in Elazig. U was 32
years old. He became a Christian two years ago. He
even changed his religion officialy and his identity
card showed his religion was Christianity. Ugur’s
family is Muslim and they insisted on an Islamic
funeral for their son. U was engaged with Nurcan.
When we were in Diyarbakir our Christian friend who
had shared the Gospel with Ugur had come to visit us
there. Then he went to Elazig to visit U and asked
me if I also wanted to go with him. I didn’t go to
Elazig to see U with my friend. I wish I would
have. Please pray for Nurcan and also for U’s
family.

Four of us went to Izmir for the funeral of Necati
last Saturday (21 April 2007). N was 35 years old
and was married to Semsa and they had one daughter
named Ester Bahar and one son named Elisa Aydin. There
were almost 400 people at the funeral. Christians went
to the funeral from different parts of Turkey. Of
course there were many journalists and television
cameras at the funeral. There were many policemen to
protect us at the funeral. I also wanted to talk to
N’s wife S and waited to talk to her. While I
was waiting there I saw N’s daughter E B
and my daughter came to my mind at that
time. The tears came from my eyes. We heard E
B asked her mother, “Mumy, where is my father? I
miss him much!”. Her mother replied to her, “He is in
Heaven now!”. Then E B said, “I miss him much.
Tell him to come now and then he can go back”. On the
way back home my wife N called me and told me our
daughter wanted to talk to me. She told me, “Daddy,
where are you? Why did you go? I miss

you daddy!”. [...]

Both wives said they forgave the
killers. The people in Turkey were waiting for them to
say ‘We are in great sorrow and we want justice and
revenge!’. T’s wife S read Luke 23:34
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they
are doing”. This was also in the newspapers and on the
television news too. We are sure they will miss their
husbands much. We know to take revenge is easy but to
forgive is the greatest.

T’s wife S said they will not leave
Malatya and will continue to stay there. She said they
love Turkey and they believe God will give a greater
beginning for Malatya and Turkey. Amen! S wanted
her husband buried in Malatya. So the funeral for
T was in Malatya. T’s family still lives in
Malatya and their children are going to Turkish
school.

We know our brothers are with Jesus Christ in
Heaven. We want to do our best for their families. We
will invite N’s and T’s family to XXXXXXX,
also U’s fiancé N. We wish to encourage them.
We are also praying for their needs. We heard Semsa
will go with her two children to live with her sister.
We are planing to collect offerings for their needs.
Please pray the Lord may provide all their needs.

These three brothers are the first martyries in modern
Turkey. This is a new beginning for the Turkish
Christians and for the Turkish churches. We believe
God is going to do greater things in Turkey.

Many Muslims are also sorry for what happened to
these Christians but anyway a small group of people
are happy about their deaths and they openly explain
their joy on some websites. I was at the barber shop
and two men were talking about this tragedy. One of
them said this was a carnage. The other man replied to
him “If they sell Bibles this can happen! Because they
were missionaries this happened to them!”.

A newspaper said Christians will leave Turkey. What
will we do? Are we going to leave our country? Are we
going to escape? No! We will not go anywhere. We will
continue to live in our country and share the Gospel
with these lost people. Satan wants us to have fear
but we will not. These people showed us the most they
can do. Our brothers were faithful until death and we
will follow their examples.

Last Sunday one young man came to the church after
the church service and he said he wants to join to the
church services. A Christian sister’s Muslim friend
asked her if she could bring a New Testament for her
as she decided to read it. We are sure many people
will also want to learn about our belief in Jesus
Christ after this tragedy.

Please contiue to pray for the Christians and the
churches in Turkey as many of us are getting threats.

Sorry this letter is so long.

Thank you very much for praying for us and for Turkey.

God bless and protect you.

Love in Jesus Christ,
XXXXXX XXXXXX

Comments

SocietyVs said…
That's sad and I feel sorry that Turkey has to have these injustices happening - but I alos feel the rally of support was very grand.
hineini said…
Added to the horror of the death of the sensless death of these three people is the added injustice of the further villification of others through the pitting of one religious community against another in perpetuating the martyr mythos. Can't we simply grieve the victims of violence without dividing them up into religious subsects, a division that makes one death more important than another?
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Steve (Hineini),

I wonder how much you have really grappled with the questions here:

The murder was not senseless at all to the men who committed it: it was an act of religious fervor and worship to their God. When you say it was senseless you show that you neither appreciate the devotion and religious zeal of the murderers. Why do you think it was senseless?

It is rich of you to accuse me of diividing folks up into religious subsects. The division haappened when Muslims went and murdered Christians.

One death more important than another? I am not saying that one death is more important than another. I am saying that one death is better than another. There is the death of a martyr who is called by God to make the ultimate act of a witness to Jesus Christ (the word martyr is Greek for witness).

This is indeed a better form of death, a glorious one, one that God honors greatly. Their death was gloorious. Saint Stepehen at his martyrdom saw Jesus standing in honor of him. These men were martyrs. Not because of any mean-spirited desire to divide humans on my part, but because of the depravity of man and the grace of God.

Their death was more glorious. Both the murdered and the murderers will give an account one day. You and I will too.
SocietyVs said…
"further villification of others through the pitting of one religious community against another in perpetuating the martyr mythos." (Hineini)

I am not sure how to respond to this except to say I get your idea - peace as the highest mentality (which I would say these Christians lived by and still died). I think there is a difference between philosophizing what can be done and what is actually happening.
René said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
René said…
Here is a beautiful and edifying report of the funeral that I recently received by email. It is on the following page. The exact URL is too long.

http://www.returnnow.org/the-journal

Blessings!

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