Turkey’s Tradition of Murdering Christians
by Robert Jones
July 31, 2016
On 26 July, the northern French town of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray witnessed a horrific Islamist attack: Two Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists killed an 85-year-old priest, Jacques Hamel, in his church during Mass. Two nuns and two churchgoers were taken hostage.
The terrorists, who had pledged allegiance to ISIS and, shouting “Allahu Akbar”, slit the throat of the priest and captured the bloody episode on video, according to a nun who escaped the assault.
Such Islamist attacks might be new to EU member countries but not to Turkey. For decades, so many innocent, defenseless Christians in Turkey have been slaughtered by Muslim assailants.
Christians in Turkey are still attacked, murdered or threatened daily; the assailants usually get away with their crimes.
In Malatya, in 2007, during the Zirve Bible Publishing House massacre, three Christian employees were attacked, severely tortured, then had their hands and feet tied and their throats cut by five Muslims on April 18, 2007.
Nine years have passed, but there still has been no justice for the families of the three men who were murdered so savagely.
First, the five suspects who were still in detention were released from their high-security prison by a Turkish court, which ruled that their detention exceeded newly-adopted legal limits.
The trial is still ongoing. The prosecutor claims that the act “was not a terrorist act because the perpetrators did not have a hierarchic bond, their act was not continuous and the knives they used in the massacre did not technically suffice to make the act be regarded as a terrorist act.”
If the court accepts this legal opinion of the prosecutor, it could pave the way for an acquittal. However, given the many “mysterious” rulings of the Turkish judiciary system to acquit criminals, these killers could also be acquitted by a “surprise” ruling any time.
Ironically, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in March that it is necessary to redefine terrorism to include those who support such acts, adding that they could be journalists, lawmakers or activists. There was no difference, he said, between “a terrorist holding a gun or a bomb and those who use their position and pen to serve the aims” of terrorists.
In a country where state authorities are outspokenly so “sensitive” about “terrorism” and “people holding guns,” why are the murderers of Christians not in jail, and why is the prosecutor trying to portray the murders of Christians as “non-terroristic acts”?
Sadly, the three Christians in Malatya were neither the first nor the last Christians to be murdered in Turkey.
On February 5, 2006, Father Andrea Santoro, a 61-year-old Roman Catholic priest, was murdered in the Santa Maria Church in the province of Trabzon. He was shot while kneeling in prayer at his church. Witnesses heard the 16-year-old murderer shout “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the Greatest”) during the murder.