Home > Radical Islam, Wars and Rumors of War > Turkey: Planned Assassination Of Christian Pastor May Signal Further Attacks Against Turkish Christians

Turkey: Planned Assassination Of Christian Pastor May Signal Further Attacks Against Turkish Christians

By BARIŞ ALTINTAŞ, CAHİT KILIÇ, Today’s Zaman – “One person was arrested last week in Kocaeli on charges of planning an attack on the İzmit Protestant Church to assassinate its pastor following a round of detentions in the town shortly after the Kocaeli Police foiled the alleged plot, which has brought fears that an illegal group behind many attacks on non-Muslims in 2006 and 2007 is currently highly active.

The discovery is not only very important because it prevented a potential attack, but also shows that groups looking to trigger a coup d’état and who have planned and carried out attacks in the past against non-Muslims as part of a larger plan against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government are still operating.

Recent trials involving the Ergenekon gang — a clandestine group that includes generals and officers of other ranks, both active and retired, as well as many civilians, including journalists — and several other coup plots have revealed that Ergenekon and related groups worked hard in the 2000s to create chaos in the country for the purpose of manufacturing panic about and distrust in the AK Party government. Although hundreds of suspects have been arrested in many trials, including the now concluded Sledgehammer trial, the plot uncovered in Kocaeli might indicate that they have extensions.

Details linking the murderers of three Bible publishers in Malatya in 2007, in a case known as the Zirve trial, to Ergenekon have emerged. Similar links also came up in the trial regarding the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, which also took place in 2007, and in the murder case of Father Santoro, a Catholic priest killed in Trabzon in 2006.

Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a journalist and contributor to Today’s Zaman, who was in fact targeted by a similar group according to documents found on the computer of a major general who has been arrested in connection with the Zirve murder trial, said there was no way of capturing the entire Ergenekon network without focusing on the anti-Christian activities of the group. He said: ‘The Ergenekon trial is all about anti-Christian movements. The prosecutors are far too focused on the coup attempt; the anti-Christian activity was not investigated thoroughly. There is a problem in their outlook here.’ He said attacks, assassinations and other planned atrocities, some of which have been carried out, against non-Muslims comprise the ‘core’ of the Ergenekon trial.” Read more.

Flashback: Turkey: Attacked Turkish Pastor Told to Accept Islam or Die, Joins Memorial Service for Slain Christians – “After a memorial service for three Christians who were murdered in Malatya, Turkey five years ago today, an Istanbul pastor who was attacked over Easter weekend said he’s experienced hostility from Muslims nearly all his life… ‘I’ve been verbally abused for being a Christian many times, but this was the first time I was hit, so this was surprising and made me sad,’ Serkek said… The men, whom Serkek said appeared to be about 18 years old, were agitated, and when he refused to let them in they used insulting language, he said. They threatened to kill him if he didn’t recite the Islamic testimony of faith.” Read more.

Flashback: Turkey: Muslims Subjecting More Christians to Discrimination and Attacks, Followers of Christ Vilified in Media, Textbooks – “… Christians in Turkey continue to suffer attacks from private citizens, discrimination by lower-level government officials and vilification in both school textbooks and news media, according to a study by a Protestant group. In its annual ‘Report on Human Rights Violations,’ released in January, the country’s Association of Protestant Churches notes mixed indicators of improvement but states that there is a ‘root of intolerance’ in Turkish society toward adherents of non-Islamic faiths. ‘The removal of this root of intolerance is an urgent problem that still awaits to be dealt with,’ the report states.” Read more.

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