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Written by Minister James Rathman; October 18th, 2018
The Christian Post announced that yet another Christian pastor has been arrested by the Turkish government this past Saturday. David Byle, a missionary who has been preaching in Turkey for 18 years, was detained shortly thereafter they had released North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson who was held in confinement for two years.
Middle East Concern, which was formed in 1991 for needs expressed by Christian leaders in the Middle East and North African regions, stated that the Anti-Terror Police Department arrested Byle in Ankara, Turkey. He had been arrested on a number of other occasions in the past. Byle was reportedly released Sunday afternoon, soon after he was interrogated. However, the missionary was this time ordered to leave the country within the next 15 days.
In 2007, Pastor Byle was arrested and held for three days by Turkish authorities for having Christian literature. However, due to the fact that the literature did not insult Islam, he was let go. Our Christian Brother David was arrested for a second time in 2016, and detained for eight days and told that he would be deported. In February of 2017, Byle's deportation order was temporarily stayed because Turkish officials were not able to prove that he was a director, member, or supporter of a terrorist organization as they had alleged.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom commissioner, stated, "While we are relieved by today's decision on Pastor Brunson's unjust detention, we remain concerned for the Turkish people because numerous religious communities, such as the Greek Orthodox community and the Alevis, continue to face discrimination and restrictions on registration and ownership of property".
Christians in Turkey are calling for prayer for Pastor Byle's persecution and deportation to be completely ceased and blocked. An expatriate Christian worker having joint United States and Canadian citizenship, he had been arrested in a routine identification check at a train station.
Evangelist Byle and his family shared a message of gratitude for his support, "We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support, not only from believers here in Turkey, but from literally all around the world. It means a lot to us and encourages us greatly to know we're not alone, that we're a part of such a great family, God's family".
Without Turkey's high court ruling, David would have been the fourth Christian American having a long term residency in Turkey who had been ordered deported in the past six months. Without explanation, they were all charged with posing a threat to national security.