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Turkey is Typing: The Killings in Malatya

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Turkey, Ethnicity & Race, History, Human Rights, Politics, Religion

Turkey was stunned this week with a series of tragedies, a bus accident which killed 33 elementary students [1] and most notably the brutal murder of three Christians who worked at a Bible publishing house in Malatya. The White Path [2] lays the scene:

A handful of monsters walked into a Bible publisher in the Turkish city of Malatya the other day. They found three innocent people inside: Two Christian missionaries and a worker. They tied the hands and feet of their victims, tortured them, and then slit their throats. It was a yet another day of barbarism in the dark side of Turkish history.

Reaction to this act has been one of general condemnation, from Turkey and My Foreign Perspectives [3]:

But it just gets worse! Yesterday, in Malatya, Turkey, famous for its apricots, this town experienced mayhem too with the killing of three people, whose throats were slit and found with their hands and feet bound. Why? They worked in a publishing house and thought to be doing missionary work.

Were they peaceful people? Probably. Did they deserve to die because they believed differently than others? No.

Erkan's Field Diary [4] describes his first seeing of the news on the subject, at first he thought that it was just more news about violence in the southeast of the country:

When I was in a hurry glancing at news, I only saw the title of a news piece and concluded in my mind quickly that it was probably an attack against PKK sympathizers (like in the Şemdinli case but succeeded this time). See how it is normalized. It is an eastern city and there are possible suspects. Although that idea itself is not good at all, this is different, this is more brutal, and more beasty.

Ignore Me If You Can [5] posts her feelings on what is becoming of her country:

For years; Turkey has been a home for Catholics, Christians and Jewish descendants. When you walk the streets of Istanbul, you feel that diversity in every street, on every corner of the historical part of the city. It’s magical.
Then, I get a wake up call; “Three slain at Bible publishing house.” “Priest slain in Church.” “Pope shot by Turk.”
All this hatred is so unnecessary and sickening that sometimes, my pride fades away and is overtaken by shame.

It shames me to know that the country that I am a part of and that is a part of me has ceased being a peaceful haven for those who wish to speak their mind and follow the religion of their choice. It is now the pawn of dark forces trying to tarnish our image and abolish the peace and religious tolerance that so many have worked for for so long.

Athanasia's Daily [6] worries that the events would be misconstrued and encourage more attacks against Islam itself:

Islam does not deny Christianity, on the contrary, Islam accepts the previous religions and say that they all belong to same God. According to Islam, Jesus is a prophet just like Muhammad and we should respect him just like we respect Muhammad. We obviously need to learn more about Islam.

Celal from Icarus Redeemed [7] posts a video blog from a Christian preacher who knew the victims.

While it has been reported that 10 people have been arrested for the crime [8], Turks are still wondering what these new events mean for their country and how Turkishness is perceived. The last word goes to The White Path [2]:

As a more short-term solution to Christophobia, we Turks need to begin to stand against it more vigorously. Our all-mighty state shows no lack of determination in punishing insults (and sometimes even criticisms!) against “Turkishness” and its perceived sacred pillars. It should also start punishing those who spread hatred against the Christian — or Jewish, Armenian, Kurdish, etc. — citizens. That hatred not only ends in horrible bloodsheds, but also puts shame on us Turks more effectively than any insult could do.

Top Links for this week:

1. Both Talk Turkey [9] and The White Path [10] discuss how Abdullah Gul is the right choice for the Turkish Presidency.
2. The Carpetblogger [11] talks about a new flavor of toothpaste.
3. Athanasia's Daily [12] tells you how to waste time watching the musical version of Casablanca.