Fear among Christians as South Korean evangelical pastor murdered in Diyarbakir

Jinwook Kim, 41, was stabbed. According to the authorities he is the victim of a robbery. For the faithful of the area it is a "martyrdom" because he died for the faith. He was married, had a son and his wife is pregnant with twins. In Erdogan's Turkey, attacks and violence are on the rise.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - A South Korean evangelical pastor was killed in southeastern Turkey, fueling fears of a new escalation of violence towards Christians in the region. According to International Christian Concern, the victim is 41-year-old Jinwook Kim, struck three times with a knife while walking in a street in Diyarbakir.

The assault took place on November 19 last year, but the news emerged only in these hours. The pastor died a few hours after being admitted to the hospital, due to the very serious injuries sustained in the assault.

For a long time, Christians in Turkey and Syria have been denouncing a climate of fear and growing violence, fueled even more by the offensive launched by Ankara against cross-border Kurds. Expropriation of land, houses, targeted attacks and a crescendo of deaths, despite the proclamations of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who says he is "sensitive" to their problems.

According to preliminary information, Kim had resided in Turkey for five years and recently moved with his family (pictured) to Diyarbakir, in the south-east of the country in an area with a Kurdish majority. He was in charge of a small Christian community in the area. He was married, had a son, and his wife is pregnant with twins, due in the next few days.

Turkish authorities arrested a 16-year-old youth in relation to the murder. It is reported as an attempted robbery. However, local Christian sources say that the evangelical pastor was killed because of his faith and call his death a martyrdom.

Another evangelical Turk reports death threats received in the aftermath of the murder. "It wasn't just theft - he says - they came to kill". We always receive threats, he adds, they "know that I try to spread the Gospel and they could target me too. This is a signal ".

Kim is the first Christian to be killed in Turkey since 2007, when three employees of a publisher of Christian religious texts [the Zirve Publishing House] were tortured and killed. The event took place in Malatya and was renamed the "massacre of the missionaries" by the local press. In fact, anti-Christian attacks and violence have grown over the past three years with widespread harassment and threats.

The previous year Don Andrea Santoro was killed,  killed by a sixteen-year-old like Pastor Kim. He was shot dead while praying in the church of St Mary in Trabzon, of which he had been parish priest for three years. A gesture carried out "in the name of Allah" by a boy sentenced to eighteen years in prison.