Sunday, November 25, 2007

Turks accused of killing Christians go on trial

Imagine an EU country in which Christians walked down the streets in fear, attended church at their peril, and feared for their lives and those of their families. Imagine an EU country in which one could be kidnapped and tortured for daring to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and where that torture consisted of being tied to a chair, stabbed repeatedly with a knife in the buttocks, testicles, stomach and back, and having fingers and toes sliced like a cucumber; where one dies the agonising death of a thousand cuts before your tormentors from hell mercifully slice your throat from ear to ear, virtually decapitating you.

This is not some middle-eastern Islamic fundamentalist country tyrannically presided over by a mad mullah, but a country that professes the virtues of secularism, practises democracy, preaches the tolerance of the Enlightenment, and aspires to join the Christian community of nations known as the European Union. The country is Turkey, which Jack Straw is insisting must be admitted to the Union to prove that 'Christian and Muslims can live together'.

The victims (true martys) were Tilmann Geske, a German father of three; Necati Aydin, a church pastor and convert from Islam; and Ugur Yuksel, who was also a Turkish convert. They were all members of a Protestant missionary group and were murdered in a Bible publishing house while they were holding a Bible study class. The trial has now begun of the five men, all aged 19-20, who stand accused of the crime.

As heinous as this crime was, it is by no means an isolated incident. Over recent years, priests and other Christians have been attacked and harassed, churches have been fire-bombed, and journalist Hrant Dink was shot dead by a 17-year-old for daring to mention Turkey’s mass killing of Armenians in 1915. Hatred towards Christians – who constitute less than 1% of the population - has been actively cultivated and is directly linked to the resurgence in nationalism. And Turkey's 99% majority Muslim population was achieved how, precisely? Constantinople in 1914 was 50% non-Muslim, and Turkey as a whole was about 24% non-Muslim. What does Jack Straw think happened to all those non-Muslims - Armenians, Greeks, Jews, and Levantines of every description?

This trial is being seen a test case to assess Turkey's willingness to tackle growing signs of religious intolerance which is seeking to eradicate the last Christians from the country. But while the resentment festers and the hatred continues to be spouted by the families of the accused, the wife of one of the victims, whose children are said to remain inconsolable, talks of forgiveness: "It's not these five young men I am asking to be punished,” she said, “But the mentality behind them."

Yet this mentality is engrained in the Turkish psyche, which remains suspicious of any Christian missionary activity. Pushing hard for EU accession, Ankara has legalised missionary activity and relaxed legal restrictions on the opening of new churches, but the rise in Westophobia continues apace. Canon Ian Sherwood of Istanbul’s Anglican church observes: ‘You live in a world of shadows, looking over your shoulder all the time. There are certain historic sensitivities one should respect in Turkey but this is also a country that professes to be a secular democracy and yet innocent individuals are persecuted for pursuing what they would be allowed to do in any other free society.’

Indeed. But Turkey is not free, and Turkey is now led by a man who as recently as 1999 declared: ‘The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers...’

All of which sounds like an excellent strategy for EU accession.


Anonymous Moomintroll said...

All this demonstrated what I have long said. For all its veneer of Western secularism and tolerance Turkey is an Asiatic state which will soon return to its natural state of intolerant Islamism. If it looks like that there is any real possibility of Turkey joining the EU we should leave immediately.
In fact I believe that we should leave anyway, and negotiate the same relationship to the EU that Switzerland and Norway have, but that is by the way.

25 November 2007 at 09:51  
Anonymous mickey said...

Your Grace, thank you for writing about this. It needs to receive as much media coverage as possible (although I am not expecting to see much mention in the Murdoch press).

Christian Today (5/11/07) included the following commentary on Turkish press coverage. It should ring some alarm bells about the nature of Turkish society:

"News on the pending trial date in the Turkish press sensationalized some scandalous allegations appearing in the killers’ official interrogation statements. All the reports were based primarily on an initial release from the Anatolian Agency, a semi-official news source close to the government.

One headline of one of the most repeated claims read, “Missionaries were linked with the PKK,” highlighting the murderers’ claim that the three Christians had “praised” the violent, separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The terrorist PKK group has killed more than 40 Turkish soldiers and civilians during the past month near Turkey’s southern border with Iraq. At least 30,000 Turkish citizens have died in clashes between the PKK and the Turkish military since 1984.

Sabah newspaper’s headline quoted Emre Gunaydin, the alleged ringleader of the five killers, as saying, “We committed murder out of fear they would harm our families.”

One newspaper, the widely circulated Hurriyet, targeted a Protestant pastor in western Turkey by naming him in its headline. The report quoted Gunaydin’s claim that he had planned to travel to kill the pastor once they had murdered the other three.

Most of the news reports also repeated Gunaydin’s claim that the Christians were forcing local girls into prostitution.

“It is clear from these statements of the suspects that there is some group of powerful influence behind them,” spokesperson Isa Karatas of the Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey told Compass. “These people want to portray Turkey’s Protestants as enemies of the nation."

I would suggest, having read these comments, that we, in the EU, should also enquire as to the 'powerful influences' that seem set on pushing forward with Turkey's accession.

25 November 2007 at 12:27  
Blogger Didactophobe said...

Turkey has become too complacent about extreme Islamism. The reforms which Ataturk imposed were to the benefit of the country; dragging it kicking and screaming into the 20th Century as a secular, democratic European state: these are in danger of being thrown away by idiots who want to drag the country back to medieval times.

25 November 2007 at 13:57  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

This is not some middle-eastern Islamic fundamentalist country tyrannically presided over by a mad mullah, but a country that professes the virtues of secularism, practises democracy, preaches the tolerance of the Enlightenment, and aspires to join the Christian community of nations known as the European Union.

What's Christian about the EU? If it were Christian, a) Straw wouldn't be able to make suggestions like that and expect to have them taken seriously; b) commissioners wouldn't have to resign for disagreeing with homosexuality; c) we wouldn't have allowed mass immigrationt to ensure that you can find horrific murders by Muslims in the UK too:

Abducted, stabbed and set on fire for being white

DAANISH Zahid, an Asian shopkeeper who helped in the abduction and murder of schoolboy Kriss Donald, was found guilty yesterday of Scotland’s first race murder where the victim was white. Kriss was the victim of a revenge attack stemming from an incident the night before when a person - X, whose name, gender and colour cannot be revealed for legal reasons - was attacked with a bottle in a Glasgow nightclub. The attacker, a white youth, belonged to a gang called the McCulloch Street Team. Swearing revenge and threatening to "cut up the culprit and take his eyes out", X, the High Court in Glasgow heard, got together a five-strong armed gang, including Zahid, to prowl the streets in a stolen Mercedes looking for him, or someone who knew his identity. Kriss Donald, 15, was last seen alive as he was bundled into the Mercedes near his home in McCulloch Street, Pollokshields. He had been heading out with his pal, Jamie Wallace, 20, to play computer games, and fitted X’s bill for no other reason than he was white and lived in McCulloch Street. The next day Kriss’s body, naked except for the charred remnants of his underpants, a sock, and a training shoe, was found on the Clyde Walkway at Parkhead, in the east end of Glasgow. In a crime which shocked the country, he had been beaten, stabbed repeatedly and set alight with petrol while still alive.

25 November 2007 at 15:44  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

You see nedsherry, it's all displaced anger against the white hegemon. By which I mean, I wish to see more behaviour like that.

Signed, A. Multiculturalist.

25 November 2007 at 15:50  
Anonymous oiznop said...

"What's Christian about the EU?"

It's history, traditions, culture and foundational laws. It might not be very Christian now, but you can't deny its still the glue that binds.

But this post proves that Turkey shouldnt be admitted to the EU, but Labour and the Tories are all behind it. Only France stands in the way since Chirac changed the constitution to give them a referendum. Wise man.

25 November 2007 at 16:12  
Blogger Laban said...

Your Grace, I hope we'll hear from you about Rasputin's latest anti-US outburst, given to a UK Muslim publication (and gleefully amplified by the usual BBC/Guardian suspects)

25 November 2007 at 19:34  
Anonymous Time will Tell said...

Your Grace,
I endorse laban's request and, as surely a myriad others do, ask for your guidance and direction as to how we can counter this failing Archbishop's ill-advised outburst.

25 November 2007 at 21:19  
Anonymous najistani said...

Failing Archbishop or successful Archdruid?

Both the Druids and the
Moslems have practiced ritual human sacrifice to their pagan demons, so perhaps this provides common ground for interfaith understanding.

Allah Kumbaya Akhbar

25 November 2007 at 21:44  
Anonymous najistani said...

Islamic child abuse - evil from the lowest cesspool in hell. Do we want this indoctination of infants in our country?

25 November 2007 at 23:34  
Blogger Dr.D said...

The country described in the first paragraph, the EU country where Christians walk down the street in fear for their lives, etc. could well be any of the current EU countries within a very few years as Izlam takes over Europe. It hardly matters whether Turkey is admitted to the EU or not; Izlam is the future of Europe and Britain if you folks do not begin to make some very radical changes very quickly. The political correctness foolishness is rapidly enslaving you and your country in ways that will be almost impossible to overcome if you do not act immediately. RISE UP NOW!!

26 November 2007 at 02:05  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

"Constantinople in 1914 was 50% non-Muslim, and Turkey as a whole was about 24% non-Muslim. What does Jack Straw think happened to all those non-Muslims - Armenians, Greeks, Jews, and Levantines of every description? "

Were they all convert/converted to Islam? If they were forcibly converted, then we have for ourselves the basis of a new propaganda slogan.

26 November 2007 at 04:08  
Blogger Dr.D said...

HH, that new slogan would be something along the lines of "Make it easy this time, no force required"? That seems to be the thinking in England today. When will the British wake up?

26 November 2007 at 17:15  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Ya, I'm with you dr.d.

You know we live in a time when men (like Tony Blair) would sooner drop liquid fire on people rather then operate a discriminatory immigration policy, with next to no force required, a beautiful circumvention of all future problems that will result from allowing Islam to establish a foothold here in the west.

26 November 2007 at 19:02  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

"What's Christian about the EU?"

Its history, traditions, culture and foundational laws. It might not be very Christian now, but you can't deny it's still the glue that binds.

I don't deny it. But the EU -- as a political institution -- is not merely not Christian, it's anti-Christian. The glue is being dissolved.

26 November 2007 at 20:22  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

Nedsherry wrote

"But the EU -- as a political institution"

I would suggest undemocratic

29 November 2007 at 01:10  

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