They join a larger roundup of 20 suspects taken into custody on March 17 for their roles in the murders of three Christians: Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske.
The arrests were part of a large-scale, nine-province operation to bring down the masterminds of the slayings. But the sinister nature of the plot went to the highest levels of the Turkish government.
Investigating authorities say the suspects were part of a clandestine ultra-nationalist group called Ergenekon, whose sole aim was to discredit and destabilize the government before the European Union.
Rody Rodeheaver with IN Network confirms this. "The aim of this group is to embarrass the government of Turkey to the degree that they will not be accepted by the EU. So, the killings in Malatya in 2007 and several subsequent issues were perpetrated to take the process off-track."
The group is also targeting high-profile Christians as part of its chaos campaign. Rodeheaver says, "An assassination plot has been uncovered on our director in Turkey."
Rodeheaver goes on to say that "the government has him on what they call a VIP list of people who have high visibility and need to be protected. There was an informant inside of the Ergenekon organization who got word of this plot and revealed it to the prosecutor's office and the police."
Last week, their director met with the anti-terrorism task force responsible for the raids that netted the plot's architects. The government is presenting a strong show of force in light of Ergenekon's efforts. In fact, a newspaper article about the plot revealed not only the director's full name, but also his address.
Rodeheaver says their director was assigned a full-time bodyguard. It's a government effort to show that they are capable of protecting their citizens, they are listening to their people, and they are not intimidated by the terrorists.
There's been a rise in threats against believers, and Rodeheaver says it as gotten so bad that their team members are ready to die when they walk outside. "The people who are part of the church in Turkey are very courageous and have a heart to see Jesus be lifted up and the Gospel be proclaimed. It's our prayer that all of the people who are there to proclaim the love of Christ will be strengthened by this."
The next Malatya hearing is scheduled for April 29.