Last year, at least thirty-five foreign Christian workers were expelled from Turkey, as their permits had been either revoked or denied renewal. So far this year, the number of those forced to leave the country has already reached sixteen. The latest of those workers are Joy Subaşıgüller and Pastor Zach Balon, both from the United States.
On June 5th, Joy was told that her residency permit had been revoked, even though she has resided in Turkey for nearly ten years and is married a Turkish pastor named Lütfü. The couple, who have three young children (all Turkish citizens), have appealed but such appeals are regularly denied.
Pastor Zach Balon is pastor of the New Hope Church in Istanbul. He was about to fly on a trip with his family on June 24th when he was told that he wouldn't be allowed to return to Turkey once he left. He immediately cancelled the flight and filed an appeal.
In these cases, and so many others, the notified Christians all had the necessary legal documentation and visas, yet they were subjected to deportation due to the country's crackdown on Christianity and government efforts to strengthen President Erdogan's support among conservative Islamic elements. More information on the persecution of Christians in Turkey, including previously posted reports, can be reviewed here.
Pray that the appeals presented to the courts on behalf of the believers requesting to remain in the country will be successful. May the Turkish authorities diminish their campaign against foreign Christian workers. Ask God to continue blessing the past, present and future outreaches of the church throughout Turkey, so that many more names will be added to the Lamb's "Book of Life" (Revelation 13:8; 20:15).