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On Trial in Turkey

Malatya murder trial defense finds footing by playing to anti-missionary sentiments. Also: the roots of anti-Christian violence in Turkey.

The stakes and the rhetoric over last spring's murders of three missionaries in Turkey continue to get higher. While some are suggesting the victims have PKK connections, others are demanding the defendants be tried for genocide.

Five young plaintiffs are being tried for the killings of Tilman Ekkehart Geske, Necati Aydin, and Ugur Yuksel in Malatya, Turkey. Seven others are not in custody but have been charged with aiding in the murders.

The trial itself opened November 23 with quite a crowd in attendance and has already stalled. The Turkish Press reports that:

The prosecutor demanded life imprisonment for five suspects on charges of setting up an armed terrorist organization and killing people. The suspects and their lawyers said they are not ready to defend themselves. Then, the judge adjourned the court till January 14, 2008.

One of the major concerns about the defense is that, in an appeal to anti-missionary sentiments, it will portray Geske, Aydin, and Yuksel as apostates who had it ...

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