Police Conspiracy Rumors Prompt Turkey to Re-Probe Christian Murders

An investigation has been launched in Turkey to look into possible conspiracy between Turkish police and at least one of the suspects in the brutal murder of three Christians in a publishing house earlier this year.

An Interior Ministry official said that a pair of senior police inspectors have been given the task of finding out if any officers assisted the suspects, according to Fox News.

In April, three Christians were tied up, repeatedly stabbed and had their throats cut in a Protestant publishing house. The trial of five men accused of the murders began last month but was adjourned until Jan. 14 as defense lawyers requested more time to prepare their arguments.

The investigation was launched after some newspapers alleged that police had conspired with the killers.

Two suspects, Abuzer Yildirim and Salih Guler, reportedly claimed that another suspect, Emre Gunaydin, had told them that he had met with police officials who gave him the locations of Christian churches in the city.

According to the Turkey-based Radikal newspaper, Yildirim said, "I asked him (Gunaydin) who are the police chiefs that you are speaking to, he said: 'Don't ask, take it easy."'

Allegations of a police conspiracy also arose following the murder in January of Hrant Dink, an ethnic Armenian who roused the ire of Turkish nationalists when he described the killings of Armenians in the early 20th century as genocide. Turkey has denied such claims.

According to Fox News, some believe the authorities failed to act on reports of a plot to kill Dink, although no evidence has linked any government or police officials to Dink's murder.

There are fears that a "deep state" may exist in which a network of informers and ex-officials are linked to organized crime that sometimes targets reformers and other "enemies" of Turkish nationalism.

Furthermore, Christian leaders in the country have expressed concern that nationalists are promoting hostility against non-Turks and non-Muslims by exploiting the uncertainty of Turkey's place in the world, FoxNews reported.