Christians in Turkey are feeling more threatened and unsettled after the government issued an emergency order over the weekend that makes it easier to deport expatriates.
According to a report on Christian News, the Turkish government amended its three-year-old law on foreigners and international protection to remove the provision requiring a court decision before a foreigner can be deported from the country. The change in the law is still part of efforts to boost security measures in Turkey after a failed coup attempt last July.
Observers said the new policy does not bode well for Christians in Turkey, who have been experiencing increased persecution in the past weeks. Last month, two American Christians doing ministry work in Turkey were ordered deported on accusations that they were threats to national security.
An expatriate Christian, who asked not to be named for security reasons, expressed concern about the Turkish government's greater power on deportation, saying it can be used by authorities to step up their crackdown on Christians.
"It's just like they can come to your door and drag you out of your home, and there is nothing you can do about it," the expatriate Christian told Christian News. "It really makes no sense. They're going after people who love the country, pray for it, help improve it and invest their money here, and not those who are really hurting the country."
Soner Tufan, spokesman of the Association of Protestant Churches, meanwhile said that Christians in Turkey, particularly Americans, have indeed been increasingly affected by residency issues and deportations from the country.
Tufan said that "active" Christians, or those who are practicing their faith, are particularly being targeted by Turkish officials who perceive anyone who is not a Sunni Muslim as automatically someone who is a threat to national security.
The association's spokesman further explained that this crackdown on American Christians may also have a political dimension, particularly Turkey's displeasure towards the extradition process of the alleged architect of the coup attempt currently staying in the U.S.