Turkey’s Christian Community Fearful After Korean Evangelist is Murdered

A Korean evangelist was murdered in southeast Turkey amid escalating persecution in the Middle Eastern country, sparking fear among the Christian community.

Persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reported that Jinwook Kim, 41, was stabbed three times on the street in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir on November 19. He later died of his injuries in a hospital.

Kim had been a resident in Turkey for five years and was living in Diyarbakir, having moved there earlier this year with his family to pastor a small Christian community. He was married with one child and another due within days.

Turkish authorities have arrested a 16-year-old in association with the murder, which they say was motivated by robbery. However, local believers are urging police to investigate the incident as an assassination, rather than an attempt at extortion.

“This wasn’t just a robbery; they came to kill him,” said a Turkish evangelist, who received a death threat the day after the incident. “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.”

Kim’s death marks the first martyrdom in Turkey since the Zirve Publishing House murders that took place in the southeastern city of Malatya in 2007. At the time, two Turkish Christian converts and a German man were found with their hands and feet tied to chairs and their throats cut in the office of a publishing house that printed Bibles.

Still, Christians in the country say that animosity toward the Christian community has increased over the last three years, with harassment and threats on the rise. Turkey is considered a Tier 2 Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett