Ankara (Agenzia Fides) - Evangelical pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, former head of the Evangelical Church of the Resurrection in Izmir (Smyrna Diriliş Kilisesi), was arrested last week on suspicion of being part of the Hizmet organization of Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, expatriated in the USA since 1999 and indicated by Turkey as the instigator of the failed coup last July 15. The Evangelical leader - refer Turkish media – is accused by a witness of whom we do not know the name.
In mid-October (see Fides 18/10/2016), Andrew Craig Brunson had been summoned along with his wife, Lyn Norine, by the immigration office, that had initially announced their obligation to leave the country, justifying the measure with the vague charges of having received funds from abroad to finance missionary initiatives and putting at risk the security of the country with their activities. Last October 9, the Turkish press reported that for the Evangelical pastor the expulsion became arrest, after a secret witness accused him of belonging to the so-called FETUS (Turkish acronym for "Fethullahnista terrorist organization" definition with which pro-government Turkish authorities indicate the Gulen’s network).
The restrictive measures which in recent months have affected several evangelical leaders operating in Turkey should be contextualized in the current political and social phase experienced by the Country, where cleansing campaigns and mass arrests are still taking place aimed at sectors considered responsible of the failed coup of 15 July. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 14/12/2016)