Christians in Turkey are asking Turkish authorities to thoroughly investigate and act following recent claims that an ultra-nationalist was planning to kill Christian leaders in Malatya in 2015/ 2016.
On 25 August, Tolgahan, a young man with ultra-nationalist connections, spoke with Vedat Serin of Malatya Kurtuluş (Salvation) Church) , He claims that members of JITEM (Gendarmerie intelligence and anti-terror unit) and some soldiers had approached him in 2015 and offered him “whatever he wanted” in return for killing three Protestant church leaders (Vedat himself, former pastor Tim Stone and pastor Ihsan Özbek, chairman of Kurtuluş Churches Association). He said he had been given photos, addresses and a gun.
According to Tolgahan, the first attempt to carry out the killings was aborted because a young boy (the pastor’s son) was playing piano in the church and Tolgahan did not want to kill his father in front of him. Another attempt was aborted after the Russian ambassador was murdered by a Turkish nationalist live on TV in December 2016. It was felt the timing was not right.
Tolgahan then said that he was dissuaded from any further attempts and returned the gun.
Enough details were provided by Tolgahan for the claims to be taken seriously. Lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz has submitted a criminal complaint to the public prosecutor in Malatya and Vedat Serin has been granted police protection.
The case is reminiscent of the murders of three Christians in Malatya in 2007, carried out by five young ultra-nationalists but believed to have been initiated and planned by paramilitary entities.
Christians are thankful that, if there really were such attempts to murder more Christians in Malatya, they did not succeed and request prayer that:
- A thorough investigation will be conducted and bring to light any coordinated effort to kill Christian church leaders
- God’s perfect love will drive out any fear in the hearts of Christians in Malatya and the wider Christian community
- God will ultimately be glorified despite the threats and opposition against His church