(By Julia A. Seymour, World Magazine). Since an attempted coup in July, Turkey’s authoritarian president has cracked down on dissent and now Christians are caught in the backlash, facing denied visas, deportations, and accusations of terrorism.
The Turkish government has fired and arrested thousands of persons it claims are connected to the Fethullah Gulen Islamic movement blamed for this year’s failed plot to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But Erdogan’s regime is also using state of emergency powers against Kurds, Alevis, socialists, and Protestant Christians, Al-Monitor reported.
Even Americans are feeling the government’s wrath.
In October, Turkey permanently barred Pastor Ryan Keating from re-entering the country, even though he had lived and worked there for more than 20 years.
And just over a week ago, Turkish authorities charged Pastor Andrew Brunson with terrorist ties. Brunson, a U.S. citizen, worked in Izmir as a church pastor for 23 years.
Authorities originally summoned him to the local police station in early October, told him he was a “threat to national security,” and said he would be deported. They detained his wife Norine for about two weeks, then ordered her to leave the country, Voice of America reported.
Instead of deporting Brunson as expected, officials charged him on Dec. 9 with “membership in an armed terrorist organization,” even though they had no evidence, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
Imprisoned EPC pastor formally charged in Turkey (EPConnection)