04/23/2007, 00.00
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The Islamic Conference condemns the “gratuitous” assassination of three Christians in Malatya

The German Chancellor Merkel maintains that the murders will not influence Turkey’s EU membership talks, but they highlight the problem of religious freedom in the Land of the Crescent Moon.

Jeddah (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has expressed condemnation of last weeks  murder of three Christians, two Turks and one German, in Turkey. The murders, for which 12 people are currently under investigation, will have no direct effect on Turkey’s EU membership talks but they raise the question of religious freedom in Turkey.

According to Ihsanoglu, who is himself a Turk, the “savage murders” in Malatya, even if they are “an internal question” for Turkey, he felt obliges to intervene given that “the authors of the murders linked them to Islam”. Islam affirms a statement released by the secretary on behalf of the 57 countries who comprise the Organisation, “is a religion of peace, tolerance and coexistence – above all between members of Islam, Christianity and Judaism – which forbids the gratuitous murder of human beings”.  Moreover the OIC will continue in its efforts to “promote a culture of diversity and to help support a politics of peace, dialogue, modernisation and tolerance”. 

Indeed in an interview to the German daily Münchner Merkur Chancellor Merkel spoke of “the unacceptable expression of intolerance”. “Everything must be done –she added – to prevent a climate which allows for such horrible murders”.

The German Leader maintains that the tragedy “will not influence” talks on Turkey’s EU membership bid which are currently underway, but “I do expect the Ankara government – she said – to take clear and decisive action against intolerance against Christians and other religious minorities”.  “We have underlined from the start – she concluded – that it is our wish that the Christian Churches in Turkey can practise their faith freely and will we continue to insist on this”.  


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