Since February, at least four foreign residents who worked with Christian projects have been banned from Turkey.
According to Middle East Concern, Mike Platt, who has lived in the country for 21 years and volunteers as a pastor of Kadikoy International Church, was refused to re-entry Turkey after a short trip, on April 2.
Platt attempted to entry the country again on May 8, and after being stopped again at passport control, he was held at the airport and deported the next morning. No reason was given for the entry ban.
In February, another volunteer of the Kadikoy International Church was also denied entry, “despite assurances from immigration police to him and his lawyer that he would be readmitted to the country”, said Middle East Concern.
Also in February, David and Pamela Wilson, who served with the Holy Bible Information Association – a legal entity which informs and instructs Turkish citizens about the Bible – were denied entry and detained at the airport, before being deported.
RESTRICTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Human Rights groups including the United Nations say Turkey has strongly restricted freedoms under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A failed coup in 2015 has been used to put pressure on social minorities, including Protestant Christians.
Other Christian workers have been deported in the last years.
Turkey announced that March’s Istanbul’s local election would be anulled and re-run in June. Erdogan’s ruling party AKP had suffered a historic loss as voters gave the victory to the candidate of the opposition Republican People’s Party.
ANDREW BRUNSON THANKS FOR PRAYERS
After living and serving in the country for more than 20 years, US pastor Andrew Brunson was imprisoned and charged with collaboration with terrorism. He was freed in October 2018, after two years’ confinement. He was allowed to return to the United States.
“I like to say I rode a wave of prayer out of Turkey at the right time, when God had finished what He wanted to accomplish through my imprisonment”, Brunson recently said in National Prayer Day dinner, according to Baptist Press.
“Every week Norine [Andrew Brunson’s wife] would tell me people are still praying for you and in fact it’s growing”, he said. “Knowing you were praying for me is really what took me through from week to week”.