“grief among Turkey’s Christian community is strongly felt, along with great shock and fear,” following the killing.
A Christian evangelist was murdered in southeast Turkey. Korean ministry worker Jinwook Kim was stabbed to death in the city of Diyarbakir on November 19.
According to International Christian Concern, Turkey’s Public Security Branch Directorate of Murder Bureau has arrested a 16-year-old on suspicion of murder.
The 41-year-old evangelist had arrived in Turkey earlier this year and was pastoring a small congregation of Christians. According to reports, he was stabbed three times — twice in the heart and once in the back, later succumbing to his injuries in a local hospital. Kim had a wife and a child.
Despite authorities insisting that the attack was a mugging, believers local to the area have urged the police to investigate the crime as an assassination.
Though Turkey has jailed and mistreated innumerable pastors over recent years, Kim is the first Christian leader to be murdered since 2007, when three believers were killed at the Zirve Publishing House in Malatya.“This is the first martyrdom since Malatya. The Turkish government has started a massive deportation of Protestant leaders who served in Turkey for many years,” one local church leader told ICC. “But deportation isn’t enough for evangelists. This kind of attack would scare [them]. I think this is the last level of a plan, being like China.”
Another Turkish evangelist, who was on the receiving end of a death threat just a day after the murder, insisted that the attack was religiously motivated..
“This wasn’t just a robbery; they came to kill him,” he said. “We always get threats. A brother prophesied a few days ago that they (the government) are going to kick out these foreigners, and probably kill a few Turkish brothers. They are going to cause chaos. They know that I am trying to spread the Gospel, so they may target me too. This may be a sign.”
Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said that the “grief among Turkey’s Christian community is strongly felt, along with great shock and fear,” following the killing.
“Martyrdom is not normal in Turkey, and this incident sadly shows just how much the country has changed,” she added.
“Just this year, we have seen a significant increase in incidents proving how the environment has grown more hostile toward Christianity. ”
“He’s obviously gone in and out of just kind of discouragement, wondering what’s going to happen, what’s the end game here,”
American pastor Andrew Brunson has been locked up in a Turkish prison for 500 days. The anniversary of Brunson’s captivity passed quietly Monday, but the American Center for Law and Justice is still aggressively working on his case.
“He still remains merely a suspect of alleged crimes; no indictment has yet to be handed down,” CeCe Heil, executive counsel for the non-profit organization, told CBN News.
The ACLJ is fighting on Brunson’s behalf and reports the pastor wrote a heartfelt note to his wife through an embassy official this month.
“I am very discouraged. Please have prayer for me,” Brunson wrote. “I love you – can’t handle the thought of growing old in this place, without you.”
“I think being trapped in a Turkish prison with really no end in sight has been hard on Pastor Brunson,” Heil said. “Of course he has his faith to sustain him and the prayers of faithful believers all over the world… but as you can imagine, this 500 days in prison, he’s lost quite a bit of weight.”
“He’s obviously gone in and out of just kind of discouragement, wondering what’s going to happen, what’s the end game here,” she added.
Heil said the accusations against Brunson range from membership in an armed terrorist organization to espionage and overthrowing the government. “So very ridiculous claims against an innocent pastor,” she said.
Heil explained to CBN News that under Turkish law, Brunson can remain in prison for seven years without ever being charged.
It seems that Brunson is a political hostage of Turkey. Last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seemed to indicate that the pastor will only be released when Washington gives Turkey a Muslim cleric living in the US who is Erdogan’s rival.
“..they (the US) get up and say… ‘Give us so and so cleric,'” Erdogan said at a police academy graduation ceremony in Ankara in September, referring to Brunson.
Erdogan then brought up Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, saying, “You have a cleric there. You give him to us and we’ll give you this one.”
Turkey has been seeking the extradition of Gulen, who was once Erdogan’s ally, and whose supporters have been blamed for trying to overthrow Erdogan’s government in 2016. Gulen has denied any role in the coup attempt. Heil said Erdogan even recently talked about a swap.
“It certainly seems that Pastor Brunson has become a political pawn,” she told CBN News. “He lived 23 years in Turkey without any incident, without any problem.”
“After the failed coup attempt in July of 2016, then Pastor Brunson’s suddenly arrested as a national security threat and then remains in prison,” she continued.
“And just recently, President Erdogan has demanded a swap, basically saying a cleric for a cleric or a pastor for a pastor,” Heil said. “You have Fethullah Gulen; we have Pastor Brunson. Let’s do a swap.”
But she doesn’t believe the US will agree to the deal.
“I don’t believe that the US will ever trade prisoners; that’s not the way that we typically operate,” she told CBN News. “So I believe they’ll keep following through with Turkey, who is a NATO ally and continuing to demand his release.”
Heil said President Donald Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson’s release. In addition, just last week, she said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and again asked for the pastor to be freed
“It seems like this meeting last week between Tillerson, Erdogan and Cavusoglu, it seems like they came out of that meeting hopeful that the US-Turkey relationship will be restored,” Heil said. “So we’re hopeful that Pastor Brunson will be part of that resolution.”
In the meantime, Heil said the most important thing people can do for Brunson is pray for him, but she also encourages taking action by signing an ACLJ petition, “Free Pastor Andrew,” which has more than 426,000 signatures so far.
“That’s very helpful because as we speak to our government as well as Turkish government and European government, it’s very helpful just to show the mass amount of people who have their eyes on this matter and are concerned about this matter and are demanding his release,” she said.
EDITORS NOTE: I wonder if Jakes, Olsteen, Dollar, Copeland, the pope and the other filthy rich “men of G-d” have signed that petition! I wonder if they even took up an offering to help support this man’s family. I wonder if they’ve even used their resources to bring any significant attention to this matter. I wonder if they held any “night vigils,” I wonder if this man will even be thought of or mentioned during “lent,” I wonder what they would do if this were Oprah, Just wondering…….