Germany Tells Turkey to Take Action Against Brutal Christian Killings

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told Turkey it must take action against "unacceptable intolerance" in the country, after three Christian Bible publishers were brutally murdered in a religious-motivated attack last week.

|PIC1|Merkel called on the Turkish authorities to take measures to combat the "climate in which such terrible murders are possible".

Among the three murdered Christians, one was a German national. The three were found with their throats slit on 18 April in Malatya, south-eastern Turkey.

On Sunday, four men and a woman were brought before a Turkish court charged with the murders. The 18-year-old woman was accused of aiding a terrorist group.

Six other young men who had been held by authorities were ordered to be released by the court, although they will await later trials for alleged lesser roles in the murders, according to media reports.

The murders are being regarded as a direct attack on the Christian minority living in Turkey. Nationalists had previously protested at the publishing house where the three worked, accusing it of involvement in missionary activities.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to bring those responsible to justice and described the attack as "savagery".

Eddie Lyle, CEO of Open Doors UK, said "This tragic incident is the latest example of a worsening trend of persecution against Christians in Turkey, that we cannot ignore any longer.

"Christians in Turkey are constantly under attack. They are crying out for help and they need our prayers to strengthen them. We can, and must, answer that call," he said.

The World Evangelical Alliance has sent a representative to Turkey to comfort the families of the three Christian workers.

Johan Candelin of Finland travelled to Turkey last Friday.

She said, "Something very dangerous is happening in Turkey at this time. The country is knocking at Europe's door and far from everyone is happy about it. At the same time the nation is about to choose a new president and tension between Islamists and nationalists is growing stronger everyday.

"I ask all Christians to pray for families of the victims, for the protection of the Christian minority and for Turkey."