More and more Christians doing ministry work or working in churches in Turkey are being deported by local authorities from the Muslim nation, with some of the Christians tagged as threats to the country's national security, reports World Watch Monitor.
Among these Christian ministry workers who are experiencing persecution in Turkey are Andrew and Norine Brunson, who are leading the Izmir Resurrection Church located in the Turkish capital, Ankara. The church currently has an average of 30 to 40 worshippers.
The Christian couple, who have been residing in Turkey for the past 20 years, were detained by Turkish officials for supposedly conducting activities that constitute a "national security risk."
The Turkish Interior Ministry has already ordered their summary deportation. The Christian couple have been trying since last April to renew their resident visas but have not received any response from the concerned agencies.
A lawyer who was trying to help the couple sort out their immigration problems was also reportedly denied access to the Christians. Church friends who tried sending clothes to the Brunsons were also turned away.
The Brunson couple are not the first Christians to experience this kind of treatment in the Muslim-majority nation. Last April, Canadian-American Christian David Byle was also taken into custody by Turkish officials after refusing for months to renew his residence visa.
Byle, who has worked for years with a registered Bible Correspondence Course, was also recommended for deportation by immigration authorities for allegedly being a "danger to public order."
A Turkish church leader, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject matter being talked about, said Christianity remains to be a "touchy issue" in Turkey.
"They are never going to be happy with any foreigners doing Christian work in this country," the Turkish church leader said, as quoted by Charisma News. "So we have to take these government actions in proportion, realising there are so many countries in this region where expatriate Christians can't even go openly," he added.