ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police have detained 10 people in connection with the killing of three people, including a German, at a Bible publishing house in the mainly Muslim country, authorities said on Thursday.
Three people were found on Wednesday with their throats slit at the Zirve publishing house in Malatya, a city in the southeast of the country.
The killings, which have shocked Turkey, come after a string of attacks targeting Turkey's small Christian minority.
Malatya Governor Halil Ibrahim Dasoz told reporters that the number of people in custody had risen to 10 and that all were from the same age group. He declined to give further details.
Newspapers said the first five suspects were 19 and 20 years old. Liberal daily Milliyet said they had carried a similar note in their pockets, saying: "we are brothers, we are going to our death". It also reported them as saying in initial questioning that they carried out the killing for the "homeland".
The killings come as political tensions rise between the powerful secular elite, including army generals and judges, and the religious-minded AK Party government, over next month's presidential electinos.
A wave of nationalism has swept the secular but predominantly Sunni Muslim country over the past year.
For many Turkish nationalists, missionaries are seen as enemies of Turkey working to undermine its political and religious institutions. Hardline Islamists have also targeted Christian missionaries in Turkey, which is seeking European Union membership.
A protester lights a candle during a demonstration in Istanbul April 18, 2007, against an attack on a publishing house in Turkey's southeastern province of Malatya.
The government and other officials in Turkey have criticized Christian missionary work while the European Union, which Turkey hopes to join, has called for more freedom for the tiny Christian minority.
"We would like a government campaign to get rid of the myths, such as that missionaries are trying to divide the country, these are the things which feed such acts," said Carlos Madrigal, an evangelical pastor who knew the victims and said they were also evangelical protestants.
"In some ways the situation has improved because we have got legal rights ... but there are parts of society which have become radicalized," Madrigal, whose Istanbul church has police protection since the Dink murder, told Reuters.
Source: REUTERS/Osman Orsal
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