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Rev. Andrew Brunson
Photo: aclj.org

On October 7th of last year, Rev. (Dr.) Andrew Brunson and his wife Norine were arrested in Izmir, Turkey, where they have been residents for 23 years. The pastoring couple were held as a threat to national security, although it is believed that the real reason for the arrest is related to their Christian relief work with refugees from Syria (including Kurds). They were denied access to either lawyers or consular assistance for over four weeks.

Following some publicity in the Turkish national press, and action on the part of the United States Embassy, Norine was released on October 19th. However, to date, Rev. Brunson remains in detention. Turkish officials have since tried to impose on him the signing of a waiver falsely attesting that he did not request consular assistance.

Negotiations between the U.S. Embassy and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs resulted in a consular official finally being allowed to meet with Rev. Brunson on November 5th, and again on November 30th.

The ministering couple had previously signed papers agreeing to comply with a deportation order. However, the official in charge marked a box on the document to indicate that this agreement applied to a "leader, member, or supporter of a terrorist organization." (This accusation was based on the testimony of a secret informant whose claim has also been used to prevent the pastor's lawyer from accessing the case file.)

On December 9th, the accused pastor was moved to the Counter Terrorism Department, and from there taken to the court for questioning. The lawyer, having just met his client for the first time, was also in attendance. Following the court appearance, Rev. Brunson was transferred to Izmir Aliaga Prison. A previously posted prayer alert report on this case is available here.

Please uphold Rev. Andrew Brunson in prayer, asking that the slanderous accusations and falsified documents against him will hold no credence in court, and that all charges against him will be quickly dismissed. May God's presence and peace surround the faithful Christian leader, serving as his strength and refuge during this time of uncertainty and need. Additionally, pray for his wife Norine, their children, and fellow believers in Turkey who are also in need of strength and the ongoing assurance that the Lord is indeed working all things together for good to those who love Him...and for His ultimate glory.

If you wish to participate in a letter-writing campaign on behalf of the imprisoned pastor, more information is available here.

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Country Information

Population
82,482,383 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Turkish (70-75), Kurdish (19), other minorities (7-12)

Religion (%)
Islam (99.8), other (0.2)

Leader
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2014)

Government type
Parliamentary republic

Legal system
Civil law system derived from various European continental legal systems

Sources: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Turkey

Prayerfully uphold those who have had their churches and places of worship taken over by a government that does not represent their beliefs, values or ordinances. Ask the Lord to oversee the mediation process as church officials and government representatives endeavour to work out a solution that is both honouring to Him and fair to all the members of the various churches. Despite the challenges experienced by the believers of this country, may they have a sense of God's reassuring presence and peace, knowing that one day He will reign supremely and justly over the entire earth.

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