A Turkish court, on January 26, ruled that the Turkish government had not played its due role in protecting the three Christians murdered in 2007 in Malatya, Turkey. The court has ordered the government to compensate the victims’ families.
The court held that the Interior Ministry and Malatya’s Governor’s office ignored the intelligence that the three Christians were targeted by Turkish nationalists.
On April 18, 2007, in the office of the Zirve Publishing House in Malatya in southeastern Turkey, Five young men with alleged links to Turkish nationalists killed three Christians. Ugur Yüksel, 32, and Necati Aydin, 36, both Turkish converts from Islam, and Tilmann Geske, 45, a German national, were bound, interrogated about their Christian activities and then mutilated and killed with knives, according to court evidence.
According to some Christians, the murderers had cultivated strong ties with the victims with one even posing as a new convert.
The court has ordered for the government to pay 1 million Turkish lira ($333,980) in damages.
Susanne Geske, Tilmann’s widow, said Wednesday that the concept of a monetary award for the death of her husband and her children’s father is lost on her, as no amount of money will bring him back or fill their loss.
“Four-hundred thousand lira for someone being killed is baffling, funny,” she said. “And anyway, although the money is welcome, we’re not yet believing we will see the money.”
Geske fears that it would take a long time for the amount to finally reach them and after deduction of lawyers’ fees and taxes, the amount would be reduced to much less.
The family had filed the case in 2008 along with the other families but the legal procedure has been particularly slow.
Though the five suspects – Salih Gurler, Cuma Ozdemir, Abuzer Yildirim, Hamit Ceker and Emre Gunaydin –were arrested shortly after the killings, many hurdles restricted the court from giving the verdict.
The judges have been changed almost twice, many a times witnesses have refused to appear at the court without any punishment for contempt of court. The case, at times, has also been linked Ergenekon file, concerning a suspected cabal plotting against the government.
Especially painful for the families, the suspects were released on bail on March 10, 2014. under a new reform law that reduced the allowable period of pretrial detention from 10 years to five. Under public pressure, authorities required them to wear electronic monitoring devices, but the release caused extreme distress among families and friends of the victims.
The suspects have threatened the families to withdraw the case.
The next hearing of the court will be held on March 1.