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Nürnberg, Mittelfranken, 2007-04-20 - 5:51 a.m.

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.. they just cut his throat

Today in the afternoon – 10 minutes before I went to work – my mother called me by phone– she told me, that something terrible had happened in our relatives circles.. –

She told that my cousin Tilman was muerdered in Turkey the day before. Some Islamic Extremists & Turkish Nationalists had caught him with 2 other men , had shackled them & cut their throats – down in the South East of Turkey in Malatya.

While my mother was still talking I was so shocked & tears came up, my voice refused to talk & I cut the phone call off for a minute & then called my mother back. –

My cousin Tillman lives since long years in Turkey with wife & now 3 children, working there as translator for a travel agency. – He’s an evangelic Christian in a little Christian community there. He was killed because he was Christian by some 19 to 20 year old young Islamic fanatics..

After this shocking & sad news it was hard for me to go to work, because it was hard to fight tears ever now & then trying to come up...

Later in the evening I searched the net for more news & details about that incident

I found reports in bbc.co.uk, cnn, German press, Turkish press etc. – here some excerpts:

Three people have been killed at a publishing house in Turkey that produced bibles, in an apparent attack on the country's Christian minority.
The victims were discovered at the Zirve publishing house in the eastern city of Malatya.
They were bound hand and foot and their throats had been slit, officials said.

..

The state-run Anatolian news agency identified the victims as Tilman Ekkehart Geske, 46; Necati Aydin, 35; and Ugur Yuksel, whose age was not given. The German ambassador to Turkey, Eckart Cuntz, said through a spokesman that one victim was a German citizen but he declined to give details.

The victims were evangelical Protestants, said an evangelical pastor in Istanbul, Carlos Madrigal, Reuters reported.

Malatya once had a heavy Armenian population. But in eastern Turkey, Armenians were driven out or killed in a series of purges culminating in 1915, when 1.5 million Armenians died.

Subsequently, nationalists were urged to settle in the area to preserve a Turkish identity there.

Mehmet Ali Agca, who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, was from Malatya, as was Dink, the outspoken journalist.

..

The attack added to concerns in Europe about whether this predominantly Muslim country -- which is bidding for EU membership -- can protect its religious minorities. It also underlined concerns about rising Turkish nationalism and hostility toward non-Muslims.

"We didn't do this for ourselves, but for our religion," Hurriyet newspaper quoted a suspect as saying. "Our religion is being destroyed. Let this be a lesson to enemies of our religion."

The paper did not name the suspect. Local media said the suspects were students, and that the residence where they were staying belongs to an Islamic foundation.

On Wednesday, police detained four youths, aged 19-20, as well as a fifth who underwent surgery for head injuries after he apparently tried to escape by jumping from a window at the Zirve publishing house in the central city of Malatya.

Malatya Governor Halil Ibrahim Dasoz said another five suspects, detained Thursday, were of the same age as those taken into custody on the day of the attack. He did not say whether the group detained on Thursday had been at the scene of the attack, saying only that they had been picked up at "various locations."

The three victims -- a German and two Turkish citizens -- were found with their hands and legs bound and their throats slit at the publishing house. Police went to the scene after receiving calls about a fight, Milliyet newspaper reported. The five suspects detained Wednesday had been carrying copies of a letter that read: "We five are brothers. We are going to our deaths. We may not return," according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said the attack had hurt his country's image abroad, and was aimed at "Turkey's peace, Turkey's tradition of tolerance and Turkey's stability."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the attack as "savagery."

The German and one of the Turkish victims were found dead, and the third victim died in a hospital, Dasoz said.

The German man had been living in Malatya since 2003. Anatolia identified him as 46-year-old Tilman Ekkehart Geske. It was the latest in a string of attacks on Turkey's Christian community -- which comprises less than 1 percent of the 70-million population.”

..

Malatya is known here as a very nationalistic city, often with an extreme religious undertone, our correspondent adds.
It is the hometown of Mehmet Ali Agca, who in 1981 shot Pope John Paul II.
Turkey's Christian community comprises less than 1% of its population. More than 99% of the Turkish population is Muslim.

..
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Party -- which opposes Turkey's bid to join the EU -- said the attacks showed the country's shortcomings in protecting religious freedoms.

"The Turkish state is still far from the freedom of religion that marks Europe," the party's general secretary, Ronald Pofalla, said in a statement.

..
Protestant leaders here spoke of a growing intolerance towards Christians, which they said was being fuelled by politicians and the media.
"Today in Turkey, there is a missionary hunt, just like the witch hunts of medieval times," Ihsan Ozbek, a leader of the Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey, said.
"Turkey is facing dangers and threats unprecedented in its history. The fact is that Turkey has become a place of unprecedented intolerance and rejection," he said.

Speaking to reporters in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, European Parliament member Joost Lagendijk said the killings would send Europe a negative message.
"Europe will perceive the killings to mean that those who attempt to seek converts to other faiths in Turkey will face a similar fate," Lagendijk said. "It is very important for the government to appeal for the acceptance of different religions and ethnic backgrounds."
The dead were identified as German Tilman Geske and Turkish nationals Ugur Yuksel and Necati Aydin, the pastor of Malatya's 30-strong Protestant community.
Proselytizing is not banned but generally viewed with suspicion in Turkey, whose population is 99 percent Muslim; small Greek Othodox, Catholic, Armenian and Jewish communities are concentrated mainly in Istanbul.

you see that Malatya seems to be a center of evil Turkish Islamic Nationalist – shooting the catholic pope, muerdering my cousin – Christian prosecution has long history there – see here:

Dating back to the time of World War I, Assyrian civilians lived in their ancestral homeland in South-East Turkey. Geographically, the region is very close to the ancient "Nineveh". According to the Bible, Jonah was sent by God to this city to proclaim the message of God, later all the Ninevites immediately repented and turned to Him. Therefore, Assyrians began adopting Christianity in the first century AD, 600 years before the region was conquered by Arab Muslims.
As the Assyrian Christians had defied the Turkish authorities and had always maintained their independence, a programme of Massacres and exiles was carried out in 1915. Millions of Assyrian children, men and women were tortured and massacred or expelled from their homes by the Muslim Turks and Kurds for being Christian.
Just a few years ago, the tiny Assyrian Christian community in southeastern Turkey was caught in the middle of fighting between Turkish troops and Kurdish rebels. The Assyrians are mostly neutral between the government and the Kurdish rebels, but neutrality has made others suspicious of them.
Many Assyrian Christians have became unemployed, therefore many of them emigrate to Germany, Switzerland and other European countries. The number of Christians in the region has reduced to around 4,000 at most. In Haberli, where around 75 families lived 30 years ago, nowadays only about 20 families remain.
An EU report in October said "very few" Assyrians have returned due to harassment by pro-government Kurdish militiamen and paramilitary police.
Turkey, which faces European pressure to return displaced villagers to the region and to grant more rights to minorities, is encouraging thousands of Assyrians to come back, and dozens have returned, Assyrians say. Governor Osman Gunes' visit to Assyrian towns and monasteries underlined the new spirit.

My cousin Tilman leaves 3 small children & his wife, a father, brother & sister all in grief & sorrow. – I think a lot about his last moments – how did he feel, react in the face of death? – I believe he prayed. –This was, what his life was dedicated to. I believe all the time before he exactly knew how dangerious the situation there was & also I believe he died conscious for his faith – a much better death than those Islamic selfmuerder zealots, who die with a mind of fanatism & killing intent , which sure is no way to go to paradize, but nothing than a sure way to hell.

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