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Cablegate: Four Christians Killed in Southeastern Turkey

VZCZCXRO9433
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHDA #0056 1081456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181456Z APR 07
FM AMCONSUL ADANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4499
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 1045
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 0901
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1102

UNCLAS ADANA 000056

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CACS PTER PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: FOUR CHRISTIANS KILLED IN SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY

REF: A. A) 05 ADANA 191
B. B) 05 ADANA 162, 05 ADANA 182, 06 ADANA 27

1. (SBU) Three Turkish citizens and one German national were
killed, and two injured, in an April 18 attack Christian
bookstore in Malatya, a provincial capital about 600 kilometers
southeast of Ankara. The victims were all affiliated with the
tiny Protestant community that has developed in southeastern
Turkey in the last five years. The Turkish citizens killed were
Necati Aydin (leader of the church), Ugur Yuksel and one
unidentified person. The German citizen was Tilman Geske.
Contacts in the church told us that the attackers broke into the
offices of Zirve Christian publishing house, tied up the
employees and then slit their throats. All three died. One
Turkish employee jumped out of the window in an attempt to
escape, but died later in the hospital from injuries sustained
during the fall.

2. (SBU) The Malatya governor announced that four individuals
have been taken into custody. There is no information about the
assailants, though the media reported that in the past a group
known as the "Ulkucus" ("Idealists"), had criticized the group
for publishing bibles. Zirve has also been harassed in the past
by local authorities (reftel A) for publishing unauthorized or
"pirate" books and attempting to sell them in local bookstores.
Christians in Malatya have also reported to us that local Muslim
clerics have spoken out publicly against Christians. The group
has also reported harassment by fundamentalist Islamic groups.
In response to the threats, the group moved offices about a year
ago.

Local AmCit Reportedly Safe
------------------------------------

3. (SBU) We have reports that an AmCit (name unknown) is also
affiliated with Zirve, but was not involved in the attack. We
are working to contact him to confirm that he is safe.

Comment
------------

4. (SBU) On one hand, this incident has echoes of the 2005
murder of a Catholic priest in Trabzon and Hrant Dink's
assassination in Istanbul this year, both of which were
committed by ultra-nationalists. The method of this murder,
however, is reminiscent of Al-Qaeda.

GREEN

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