The Rev. Andrew Brunson, freed pastor, warns Turkey targeting Christians

October 15, 2019

Pastor Brunson is obviously correct about the persecution of Christians in Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is indeed cracking down on religious minorities in Turkey. There is widespread discrimination against Christians and Christianity in Turkey, as is shown most clearly by the ongoing plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the remaining Christians in that country. The Turkish government has been for decades pursuing policies that will ultimately end with the extinguishing of Orthodox Christianity in Turkey. Christians of other faith traditions will fare no better.

We hope and pray that the U.S. State Department will pressure the Turkish government to end these policies, provide for equitable treatment of Christians, reopen the Halki seminary, grant property rights to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and end interference in the elections of the Ecumenical Patriarchs.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not long ago reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to protecting the religious freedom of Christians in the Middle East; we urgently request him to make the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all the Christians of Turkey his top priority.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“The Rev. Andrew Brunson, freed pastor, warns Turkey targeting Christians,” by Christopher Vondracek, Washington Times, October 14, 2019

An American pastor released from a Turkish prison thanks to the Trump administration says that Christians, like himself, are a target amid Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on religious diversity.

Speaking from his home in North Carolina, the Rev. Andrew Brunson says he has watched as the Turkish government has striven to purge sects of Christians and Muslims after the failed 2016 coup attempt against Mr. Edrogan.

“Well, we cannot go back to Turkey, at this point, for obvious reasons,” Mr. Brunson, 51, told The Washington Times. “The Turkish government probably would not allow me back in the country, plus they’ve made me a target [for Islamists], so I wouldn’t last a week.”

Mr. Brunson was imprisoned for two years in a Turkish prison on espionage charges, which he says are false. As a missionary, he had started churches and tended to refugees in Turkey for more than 20 years when Turkish authorities took him into custody while he applied for permanent residency in October 2016….