Christian Martyrs in Turkey
|by Catherine Larson|
Kristine, thanks for your post on the Wonderful Words of Life. I can't help but think about the three Christian men who worked at a Bible publishing house whose throats were slit in Turkey last Wednesday-- their only crime, selling Bibles. One of them was a student at Martin Bucer Theological Seminary's branch campus in Turkey. The president of MBS Turkey described how Necati Ayidin, one of the three martyrs, had distributed Bibles: "Beginning in 2006, the Malatya team of Zirve Publishing House, led by Aydin, has been able to make 10,000 Bibles available to interested Turks." Konutgan hopes that now, after the tragic murder of three Christians, the word of the church father Tertullian will be fulfilled: “The death of martyrs is the seed of the church.”
A report from the seminary translated by Prof. Dr. Thomas K. Johnson, Director of the Comenius Institute, Prague, and Fellow of the International Institute for Christian Studies, described Ayidin as follows:
Necati Aydin was born into an Islamic family in the Izmir area and came to a living faith in Jesus Christ in 1994. For many years he openly and actively confessed his faith, and for this he was repeatedly condemned by Muslims. In 2000 he spent four weeks in jail for distributing Bibles from a booth on the street, even though this is completely legal in Turkey. He was released from jail because no one found that he had done anything wrong. He was not able to enjoy the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, to which he had appealed his case. Necati also played the role of Jesus in a large theater production, which was repeatedly held in major Turkish cities.
A few years ago Necati moved to Malatya, where he became pastor of the local Kurtulus Congregation (part of an association of churches led by Pastor Ihsan Özbek). He also became a staff member of Zirve Publishing House, which is a Christian publisher based in Istanbul with distribution offices in various Turkish cities.
Last October he began his studies at the MBS study center in Ankara, to be equipped for his ongoing pastoral ministry. He is survived by his wife, Shemza, and their two children, Esther (age 5) and Elisha (age 7).
The seminary has established a trust fund for Ayidin's widow and children and to assist the other survivors, victims, and help protect the local church. All contributions will be directly sent to those in need, without any administrative fees being deducted. The bank information for this special support account is:
Institut für Weltmission und Gemeindebau e.V.
Kto.3 690 334
BLZ 520 604 10
Evangelische Kreditgenossenschaft Kassel eG
Verwendungsweck: Märtyrer Malatya