I noticed last night a change on the Voice of the Martyrs website. The “graphic description” of the martyrdom of the three Turkish Christians had been removed from the “Letter to the Global Church from the Protestant Church of Smyrna.” From the beginning I was wondering how much of the story contained in this letter could be substantiated. That is why I contacted a religion reporter from The Dallas Morning News yesterday to see if the details could be confirmed. He wrote me back saying that he would look into the story.
I had already sought to find independent confirmation of the details of the “graphic description.” Several news outlets published descriptions of the killings before that letter was posted on the Voice of the Martyrs website on April 26. I posted links to the following descriptions in my original post.
[Warning: Graphic descriptions follow.]
“The three victims . . . were found a day earlier with their hands and legs tied and their throats slit. Their faces were bruised, and the ropes had cut into their wrists. . . at least one victim was stabbed many times. ‘There were so many stab wounds that we couldn’t count them,’ Hurriyet quoted Dr. Murat Ugras as saying. ‘It was clearly torture.'” â€“Associated Press (April 20, 2007)
“Their throats had been cut and their bodies marred by multiple stab wounds.” â€“ Christianity Today (April 20, 2007)
“Two other Turkish Christians . . . were also found tied up and their throats slit. According to Turkish press reports the victims were brutally tortured. Geske’s body showed 156 knife wounds. Yuksel’s genitals and fingers were slashed.” â€“Turkey, Assist News Service (April 20, 2007)
“They cut their throats like an animal, like a sacrifice. They were the first martyrs of the evangelical church in this country.” â€“The Christian Science Monitor (April 25, 2007)
“What unfolded between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 18 could add another chapter to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. As the three men joined together for Bible study, a dozen assailants tied them to chairs, then brutally interrogated and tortured them for two hours about their church activities. A videorecording made with a cell phone shows the men being disemboweled, dismembered, and stabbed hundreds of times. Their throats were slit when police arrived.” â€“World magazine (May 5, 2007)
“The autopsy reports lead to the following picture : The bodies were covered with about 156 knife wounds in the pelvis area, lower body, anus, abdomen, and back. Their fingertips had been sliced repeatedly ; and they had massive slashes on their necks which severed the windpipe and oesophagus.” â€“Journal ChrÃ©tien (May 2, 2007)
Thus many of the details of the attack were reported before the Voice of the Martyrs had even published the “Letter to the Global Church.” If I can confirm that any or all of these reports are in error, I will let you know.