World News

Nine Christians expelled from Turkey for ‘missionary activities’

The Turkish government labelled the Christians a national security risk under the contentious "N-82" immigration law.

The ruling states that the decision does not violate the foreigners’ rights, referring to the “framework of the wide discretion of the public authorities regarding immigration and border controls. As a matter of fact, the applicants have no complaints that they encountered any obstruction or discriminatory treatment in fulfilling their religious beliefs while they lived in Turkey. In addition, it should also be taken into consideration that applicants Helmut Frank and Matthew Vern Black, for whom the N-82 restriction code was applied, left Turkey voluntarily, while applicants Amanda Jolyn Krause and Jeremy Lauren Lambert are still in Turkey.”

ADF International—a religious freedom legal organization—argues that the court has been discriminatory several times, ruling against foreign Christians unanimously. However, the judges have not reached the same conclusion in this case. Six of the thirteen judges expressed strong dissent.

Constitutional Court President Judge Zühtü Arslan expressed a deviating view. He reasoned that there was no evidence suggesting that the Christians’ activities threatened Turkey: “There is no concrete justification provided in either the administrative or judicial processes in the concrete case to suggest that the applicants’ activities pose a threat to public order or security. Conversely, it is impossible to categorically and abstractly regard the ‘missionary’ activity directed at the applicants as a threat to public order or security. Essentially, it is understood from the statements made both in the ‘Events and Facts’ section of the decision … and under the heading ‘Applicants’ Allegations and Ministerial Opinion’ … that the N-82 restriction code was applied to the applicants due to their missionary activities. It is beyond explanation that this constitutes an interference with the applicants’ freedom of religion.”

According to data collected by ADF International, around 185 foreign Protestant ministers have been exiled from Turkey since 2018, without offering them a clear explanation or access to intelligence reports. 

Kelsey Zorzi, director of advocacy for global religious freedom at ADF International, stated: “The government’s discriminatory targeting of Christian religious workers in Turkey, all of whom have peacefully lived in Turkey for many years, constitutes a clear violation of both the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenants to which Turkey is a party.”

Many religious minorities are in a predicament due to nationalism and Islamization in Turkey. Protestant Christians are especially targeted. Turkey is a party to the Lausanne Peace Treaty, which recognizes Jews, Orthodox Greeks and Armenians, but not Protestants.

There are around 170,000 Christians in a predominantly Muslim population of 83 million people.


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