The widow of one of the men who was killed says she does not want revenge on the Muslims who killed her husband. She pleads forgiveness for them, quoting what Christ Himself said when He died, "Oh God, forgive them for they know not what they do."
Susanne Tilman's loving and Christ-like statements to Turkish reporters and television crews have made quite an impact in her community and around the world. One reporter wrote, ''She said in one sentence what 1,000 missionaries in 1,000 years could never do."
Necati Aydin, Tilman Geske and Ugur Yuksel were recently murdered by Muslim men who went to a Bible Study that the three victims were giving in a publishing company's offices. Zirve Publishing distributes Christian literature throughout Turkey.
The five Muslim men came prepared to rid the world of these Christian men.
"The young men got guns, bread knives, ropes and towels ready for their final act of service to Allah. They knew there would be a lot of blood. They arrived in time for the Bible study, around 10 o'clock," the letter said. "Reportedly, after Necati read a chapter from the Bible the assault began. The boys tied Ugur, Necati, and Tilman's hands and feet to chairs and as they videoed their work on their cellphones, they tortured our brothers for almost three hours."
"Tilman was stabbed 156 times, Necati 99 times and Ugur’s stabs were too numerous to count. They were disemboweled, and their intestines sliced up in front of their eyes. They were emasculated and watched as those body parts were destroyed. Fingers were chopped off, their noses and mouths and anuses were sliced open. Possibly the worst part was watching as their brothers were likewise tortured. Finally, their throats were sliced from ear to ear, heads practically decapitated."
Neighbors heard all of the screams and noise from these horrific torture acts, but did not call police because they claim they thought it was "a domestic argument."
Another Christian man came late to the Bible study. He called one of the victims on his cell phone when he was unable to get inside the offices. He was given a cryptic message. He then called police in alarm after hearing the message from his friend, plus alot of disturbing background noise and cries from inside where the Bible study was supposed to be taking place.
When police arrived two of the men, Tilman and Necati, were already dead with their necks sliced almost to the point of decapitation. Uger, who had answered his phone and given the cryptic message, was barely alive with his throat also slit open. He died shortly thereafter.
The five men were caught who tortured these Christians to death.
The letter said persecution of Christians – bombings, physical attacks, verbal and written abuse as well as media propaganda -- moved into the intense range following a decision in 2001 by the National Security Council of Turkey to consider Christians a threat to national security on the same level as al-Qaida.
The letter described cameras in churches to promote fear and antagonism towards Christians.
Mrs. Tilman is planning on remaining in Turkey with their three young children. Pastor Necati leaves behind his wife and two children. Ugur was engaged to be married.
"We pray – and urge you to pray – that someday at least one of those five boys will come to faith because of the testimony in death of Tilman Geske, who gave his life as a missionary to his beloved Turks, and the testimonies in death of Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, the first martyrs for Christ out of the Turkish Church," the letter said.