ASIA/TURKEY - Turn of the screw on evangelical communities, in the name of defending "national security"

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 religious minorities   religious freedom  


Ankara (Agenzia Fides) - Turkish authorities have decided to expel Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, head of the Evangelical Church of Smyrna (Izmir Diriliş Kilisesi, Church of the Resurrection) along with his wife, Lyn Norine from the Country. The couple were summoned from the office for immigration, who communicated their obligation to leave the country, justifying it with the fact that their activities would represent a threat to "national security" and with vague references to suspicions of having received funds from abroad to finance missionary initiatives.
The Union of Protestant Churches of Turkey announced that the Yaşam Köprüsü Church, in Antakya, was closed last week on the grounds that it had illegally organized language courses, and in past weeks entry and extension requests of residency permits submitted to the competent authorities by foreign Protestants were rejected.
The restrictive measures taken against the Protestants are to be contextualized in the current political and social situation in Turkey, where there are still cleansing campaigns taking place and mass arrests directed against sectors considered to being responsible for the failed coup of July 15. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 18/10/2016)