CIRCULATION CODE 3. OPEN. May be circulated to general mailing lists, outside organizations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.
In February we asked for continued prayer for Hakan and Turan, two Turkish Christians facing a court case. Recall that they are charged with "insulting Turkishness," defamation of Islam and secretly compiling data on private citizens for a local Bible correspondence course.
The third hearing in their case was held last Wednesday (18th) under tight police protection as per the previous hearing on 29th January.
Again, only one of the three accusers appeared in court. On this occasion it was one of the two teenagers, with the 23 year old absent. The testimony contained contradiction and appeared rehearsed. The judge threatened to open a case against the police for contempt of court if the three accusers failed to appear together at the next hearing!
The next hearing was scheduled for Wednesday 18th July. The defence lawyer believes that there will be two more hearings to resolve the issue. There are indications that the Interior Ministry is requesting the judge conclude the trial quickly in response to the adverse publicity this case has brought in Europe.
News of the murder of three Christians in Malatya broke during the hearing (see prayer request issued on Thursday 19th). Hakan and Turan were questioned about this by reporters.
Turkish Christians request our continued prayers that:
a. The charges will be dropped or our two brothers acquitted
b. They and their families will know the daily strength and peace of Jesus
c. The Church across Turkey will be emboldened, not intimated, by this incident
d. The truth message of Jesus will be carried within Turkish media
e. The accusers and all officials involved will be attracted to the love of Jesus