Europe: EEA prays for martyred Christians in Turkey

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For immediate release

From the European Evangelical Alliance


Contact: Gordon Showell-Rogers, General Secretary, [email protected]

European Evangelical Assembly prays for martyred Christians in Turkey

The European Evangelical Alliance’s (EEA) annual assembly opened in Greece on Tuesday with a heart-wrenching appeal from the Evangelical Alliance in Turkey to pray for believers there following the horrific murder of three Bible publishing workers in April.

Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel of Turkey, and native German Tilman Ekkehart Geske became the first martyrs in Europe for centuries when they were killed in their Bible publishing office in Malatya.

Zekai Tanyar of the Evangelical Alliance in Turkey wept as he spoke of the shock he had felt at the time of the killings.

“It was as if suddenly all hell had been let loose,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. Sometimes I still can’t.”

Assembly delegates were left visibly moved as Tanyar, who knew the three men personally, appealed to them to pray for believers in Malatya and for the wider church in Turkey, which he said was suffering from a “sense of tiredness”.

The killings have prompted some believers to leave Malatya, while others have stopped coming to church altogether. The EU, meanwhile, remains concerned by the killings and the suspicion over the presence of missionaries that is commonplace in majority-Muslim Turkey.

Delegates at the EEA Assembly joined in prayers of solidarity for relatives and colleagues of the three Christians as well as believers in Turkey, while special prayers were said over Tanyar and his continuing ministry in the country.

A Turkish prosecutor is believed to be pressing for extended life sentences for the five men suspected of the killings.

Tanyar stressed at the Assembly his forgiveness towards the perpetrators of the crime. “We’re sad but we don’t hate,” he said.

Gordon Showell-Rogers, General Secretary of the EEA, urged evangelicals in Europe to keep Tanyar and believers in Turkey in their prayers.

He said: “The love of Christ has a unique and powerful contribution to make in a suffering world. The Turkish Christians’ appeal for prayer for the families of the victims as well as the young murderers is a powerful reminder of that. Europe’s evangelicals are convinced that the whole region needs this power of the love of Christ as much as ever.”

One hundred and twenty EEA leaders have gathered on the Greek island of Evia for the annual Assembly, hosted this time around the theme of “Increasing our influence in Europe”.

The Assembly concludes on Friday 19 October 2007.

European Evangelical Assembly prays for martyred Christians in Turkey