Pastor Emre Karaali (Image coutresy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada)
Turkey (MNN) ― Persecution seems to be on the rise in Turkey, a country where Christians make up only .2% of the population.
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada says 14 suspects were recently arrested in the attempted murder of Pastor Emre Karaali. The suspects also planned to attack Christians during a series of evangelical outreach meetings in January.
When these suspects brought someone from eastern Turkey to carry out the murder, the country's anti-terror division became involved. Karaali had been working with police for a year after being repeatedly threatened.
Two of the suspects had been attending Karaali's church for more than a year in order to get close to the pastor and his wife. When police raided the suspects' homes, they found maps of the Karaali home and his church, personal information, and photos of other preachers connected to the church.
In addition to recorded telephone conversations, officers also found two guns in one of the homes they raided.
The Karaali's have served the Church for four years, in an environment Karaali describes as difficult: "Two years ago, I almost lost my life because of my health, but the Lord brought me back to life, and He has done this for me again.
"He protects us, so we believe this means the Lord has work for us to do. We haven't lost our confidence. On the contrary, we feel the Lord is with us because He didn't allow this (assassination) to happen, and we will continue to do what the Lord asks."
A Human Right Violations Report by the Association of Protestant Churches lists at least ten incidents of verbal and physical assault hate crimes against Christians in 2012. Police protection from possible attacks continued throughout the year for leaders of five Protestant congregations.
Pray for Pastor Karaali and his wife as they continue to share the Gospel with a people group that is over 95% Muslim. Ask God to keep a hand of protection around them. Pray for protection over all believers who are spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ in Turkey.