Korean pastor stabbed to death in southeast Turkey

A South Korean pastor, who led a congregation in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır, died from injuries suffered in a stabbing, the Jerusalem Post reported on Friday.

Turkish police has detained a 16-year-old boy over the death of Pastor Jinwook Kim and believe the incident was a robbery gone wrong, it said.

Kim’s small congregation in Diyarbakır believe his killing was deliberate and that the pastor was targeted for his faith.

Kim had been living in Turkey for the last five years, having moved to the southeast a year ago.

A Turkish evangelist, who spoke to JP on condition of anonymity, said Kim’s death was not a botched robbery as suspected. 

“They came to kill him,” the evangelist said, adding that he also received death threats the day after the murder and that death threats were commonplace for Christian evangelists. 

“This is the first martyrdom since Malatya,” one church leader who did not provide their name was quoted by the JP as saying, referring to the murder of three people in the Zirve Publishing House in 2007.

Five men had raided the Christian publishing house in Malatya and slit the throats of one German and two Turkish Christians. The case occupied a significant place in Turkish politics with its connections to a deep-state conspiracy in the country. The perpetrators received life sentences and two military officers said to have instigated the attack to over 13 years in prison. The court found Turkey’s interior ministry not to be at fault.

Turkey’s Christian community feels that animosity against their faith and community has increased since 2016, JP said.

The church leader was quoted as saying that the Turkish government had been deporting Protestant leaders for years.

“I think this is the last level of a plan, being like China,” they said.

In a recent incident that sparked public fury, a central Anatolian city, Konya, saw billboards put up in late Oct. urging the conservative Muslim community in the city to avoid befriending Jews and Christians, which had led to condemnation and concern.