MALATYA FILM RELEASE
Documentary Film on the First Martyrs of the Turkish Church DVD Release
April 18, 2007, two Turkish Christians and a German missionary were tortured and killed inside a Bible Publishing house in Malatya, Turkey. Summer 2008, two young filmmakers from Texas set out to create Malatya, a documentary exploring how three Christian martyrs have shaken the nation’s roots.
Necati Aydin, Uğur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were tied up, tortured with butcher knives and killed for worshiping Christ. Semse Aydin and Susanne Geske, the wives of Necati and Tilmann, both contributed to the film. Echoing Christ’s words from the cross, they’ve publicly forgiven those guilty of their husbands’ deaths. Resources for Christian counseling are scarce in Turkey, a country of nearly 72 million, 99.8 percent of which is Muslim. This has left their surviving families and friends with little human support to lean on in a nationwide church of around 3,000 believers. The joy they find is purely in the hope of their sovereign God working through this time of trial for His glory and their good.
Testimony from leaders of the Turkish church shows even before the martyrdom, Turkish Christians faced persecution. They were unlawfully jailed, interrogated about their activities and even tortured. The deaths of these men have crossed a new line. Attacks and attempted murders have increased since the Malatya martyrdom. The current leader of the Turkish Protestant Alliance, Zekai Tanyar, told the filmmakers, "Before this, I would have said that we do suffer, but I wouldn't call the Turkish Church 'the Persecuted Church,' but all of a sudden, we are the persecuted church."
Turkish pastors revealed to the filmmakers the rise in persecution following the martyrdom has led many in the church to quit attending their fellowships or fall away from their faith all together. Others however have grown bolder in ministry, both in the sharing of their faith and serving in their churches, fully aware any church could be the next victim of violence.
Malatya also covers how the ongoing trial against the murder suspects has gained nationwide coverage in Turkey, where religious freedom is established by law. While some Turks think any Christian in Turkey must be a foreigner, and likely a subversive, thus championing the martyrdom in the name of patriotism, others despise the martyrdom as a hate crime. Turks now face a cultural dilemma: for the first since the founding of their republic, Turkish Christians were martyred.
Malatya is scheduled for DVD release across the globe April 18, 2009, the two-year anniversary of the martyrdom. Screenings are scheduled from Austin to Brazil, the UK, Germany, South Africa, Australia and more.
To view the trailer and get more info on Malatya, please visit www.malatyafilm.com. If you'd like to set up an interview with the executive producer or the filmmakers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.