Turkey Arrests Another Pastor Just Days after Pastor Brunson is Released
After releasing pastor Andrew Brunson just days ago, Turkish authorities detained another U.S. missionary.
According to Middle East Concern, missionary David Byle, who has been preaching in Turkey for 18 years, was arrested in Ankara on Saturday by the Anti-Terror Police Department.
Byle was reportedly released Sunday afternoon, soon after he was interrogated. The missionary was then ordered to leave the country within the next 15 days.
“[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,” Byle and his family shared in a message.
The Christian Post reports that Byle has been arrested several times while he has been a missionary in Turkey.
In 2007, Byle was arrested and held for three days by Turkish authorities for carrying Christian literature, but since the literature did not insult Islam, he was let go.
Byle was arrested for the second time in 2016, this time he was detained for eight days and told that he would be deported.
Byle’s deportation order was soon temporarily blocked in February 2017, because officials could not prove that he was a “director, member or supporter of ‘terrorist organizations’” as they suspected.
Byle’s most recent arrest came just one day after North Carolina pastor Brunson was released by Turkey after being held for nearly two years.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom commissioner, hopes that Brunson’s release will send a firm message to Turkey.
He said, “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.”