Christians ‘under watch’ before Zirve massacre

Christians ‘under watch’ before Zirve massacre

İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL / Radikal

Three missionaries killed in the Zirve Publishing House massacre were subjected to close surveillance by the gendarmerie before their murder in 2007, according to Malatya Governor’s Office records that were recently appended to an indictment into the case.

The records of provincial security meetings held by the governor’s office between 2006 and 2008 revealed that authorities believed that missionaries in the eastern province were “the most serious threat to security” even though there have been fewer than 15 of them in the area since February 2006.

The meetings were attended by the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) department chief, gendarmerie commander and local chief of police.

Security services closely monitored and obtained information on the three missionaries, German citizen Thilman Geske and two Turks, Necati Aydın and Uğur Yüksel, as well as their spouses. Geske, Aydın and Yüksel’s names were mentioned in five security meetings held in the 10 months leading up to the murder although no indication of the conspiracy to murders noted. The gendarmerie reduced the amount of information it provided about the missionaries two months after the murder, while the Malatya Police Department did not convey any information about the missionaries to the governor. The three Christians were tied up and tortured before having their throats slit at the Zirve Publishing House, a Christian publisher, in Malatya on April 18, 2007. Five of the alleged murderers were arrested after the killings.