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WASHINGTON — Evangelical missionary Andrew Brunson said Thursday that the authoritarian crackdown and struggling economy in Turkey are causing more Muslim Turks to show interest in the Bible at a time in which the “storm clouds” of Christian persecution seem to be forming.
Brunson - North - Carolina - Native - Decades
Brunson, a North Carolina native who spent two decades planting churches in Turkey before spending two years in prison on trumped-up terrorism charges, expressed deep concern about the future of Turkey’s small Protestant population during a hearing hosted by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Capitol Hill.
“There is still a high degree of freedom for Christians relative to other Muslim countries in the region, but I am concerned that all the signs point to this changing soon,” said Brunson, who was released from prison last October after months of pressure from the U.S. government.
Midst - Government - Crackdown - Wake - Coup
In the midst of a massive government crackdown in the wake of the 2016 failed coup attempt against the Erdogan government, Brunson explained that the regime has accelerated the expulsion and deportation of foreign Christian leaders.
According to Brunson, as many as 50 foreign Christian families have recently been deported from Turkey.
Read - List - Protestant - Christians - Turkey
The 51-year-old read off a list of Protestant Christians in Turkey who have been deported after being accused of being a “threat to national security.” Most of them were leaders within their respective churches, he said.
He added that the Turkish church relies on foreign leadership because the Turkish government does not allow Christians to set up training programs in order to develop leaders in the country.
City - Years - Izmir - Bruson - Half
In the city in which he served for many years, Izmir, Bruson said that nearly half of all churches there have lost their senior leaders.
Citing a 2018 report from the Turkish Association of Protestant Churches, Brunson said...
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