ISTANBUL, Turkey -- On April 18, 2007, three Christians were bound to their chairs, tortured, and stabbed repeatedly at a Bible print shop in Malatya -- their throats slit. Five years have now passed since the Malatya murders, an incident that was perhaps the most tragic and brutal murder of Christians in modern-day Turkey.
Today, believers are facing increased persecution and the country is gradually moving away from secularism.
"You see everyday is April 18. Everyday I have to live without him," widow Susanne Geske told CBN News on the one year anniversary of her husband's murder.
Five suspects went on trial for killing the men, but there is still no conviction.
Country of Concern
Church attendance dropped immediately after the Malatya incident. And although attendance is now growing again, so are the number of attacks against Christians.
The Protestant churches of Turkey documented 12 attacks in 2011. This included the beating of Christians for sharing their faith with Muslims.
No one has been prosecuted for any of these crimes, putting Turkey on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's list of "countries of particular concern" (CPC) for the first time.
Nina Shea, one of the commissioners supporting that move, said the Turkish government is suppressing Christian worship, and as a result Christian numbers are dwindling.
"They comprise 0.15 percent of the entire population of Turkey," Shea said. "They are very frail, and we're going to see them vanish in our lifetime if Turkey doesn't lift its dense web of regulations and give them religious freedom." (...)(...more)