Two Christian mission workers currently ministering in Turkey have been ordered out of the country by the Government amid tightening restrictions on evangelism and the free practice of religion.
On 5th June, American missionary Joy Subaşıgüller, who is married to a Turkish pastor, was sent a letter by the Ministry of Interior notifying her that her residency permit had been revoked. Then, on 24th June American Pastor Zach Balon, who leads New Hope Church in Istanbul, was informed that he would not be allowed to return to Turkey. He had to cancel his flight to Istanbul and has since lodged an appeal against the order.
Over the past couple of years, numerous Christian workers have been expelled from Turkey because they are engaging in evangelistic ministry. In 2019, some 35 Christian workers received deportation orders, while 16 have already been expelled this year.
CSW’s chief executive Mervyn Thomas said: “The expulsions are deeply worrying. These workers had all the necessary legal documentation to live and work in the country, yet they are being deported by a government that continues to crack down on Christianity in line with a guiding ethos that equates being Turkish with being Muslim.
"Worse still, in several cases deportation may result in the separation of families. We call on the government of Turkey to uphold the right to freedom of religion or belief for all citizens, and to end the deportation of these Christian workers, who are legally resident in the country.”