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New charges against pastor in Turkey jailIZMIR, Turkey (BP) -- American pastor Andrew Brunson faces new charges punishable by four consecutive life imprisonments in an Izmir, Turkey, prison.
The Presbyterian pastor formerly of North Carolina is now accused of espionage aimed at overthrowing the Turkish Parliament and government, and undermining the constitutional order of the state, the Wall Street Journal reported shortly after the charges were levied Aug. 24. Previously accused of working with the Fetullah Gulen movement to overthrow Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brunson has been imprisoned since early October 2016. Read More
78 U.S. lawmakers call for release of jailed pastorWASHINGTON (BP) -- A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers have signed a letter calling for the release of Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen believed to have been jailed for his Christian faith in Turkey where he had pastored more than 23 years.
The chairman and ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee are among 78 signatories of the letter calling for Brunson's release, Senate committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said in a Feb. 16 press release. Brunson, formerly of Black Mountain, N.C., has been held since October 2016 on accusations of being a member of an armed terrorist group. Read More
'Malatya massacre': 5 assailants found guiltyISTANBUL, Turkey (BP) -- Authorities arrested five Muslim-Turkish nationalists Thursday (Sept. 29) who had been convicted for the torture and murder of three Christians in 2007.
Despite the verdict in Malatya, a city of more than 750,000 people in southeast Turkey, the men were not detained and were subject only to routine surveillance, pending appeals proceedings in the slayings of Ugur Yüksel, 32, and Necati Aydin, 36, both Turkish converts from Islam, and Tilmann Geske, 45, a German national. Read More
Failed coup leaves Turkey's Christians on edge
NASHVILLE (BP) -- In the aftermath of a failed military coup, Christians in Turkey are likely to face increased scrutiny and more persecution, an international security expert told Baptist Press.
An estimated 50,000-60,000 people -- soldiers, police, judges, prosecutors, civil servants and teachers -- have been fired or detained since the July 15 coup attempt, according to news reports.
The coup is widely seen as move by elements of the military opposed to the increased political influence of Islam in the constitutionally secular country. Turkey's president, Tayyip Erdogan, has declared a three-month state of emergency, allowing him to bypass parliament to enact new laws and restrict or suspend freedoms, the BBC reported. Read More
Turkey leader's social media counters military coupWASHINGTON (BP) -- Turkey's Islamist-leaning president, Tayyip Erdogan, survived a July 15 coup attempt by narrowly escaping a band of soldiers at a coastal resort and then launching "a counteroffensive that marshaled military might, technology and religion," as described by Wall Street Journal reporters.
The coup attempt failed, leaving more than 250 people dead and 2,800 military personnel detained for questioning, as estimated by The Journal on July 17, while the BBC placed the number of overall detainees as climbing past 6,000. Read More
Ramadan attacks reflect need for Christians to prayISTANBUL, Turkey (BP) -- Two terror attacks in Turkey during Ramadan have marked the Islamic holy month with violence and chaos.
Terrorists opened fire at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul late Tuesday (June 28) before detonating explosives, killing 43 people and injuring more than 200.
Three weeks earlier, a car bomb tore through a crowded area of Istanbul during the height of morning rush hour, killing 11 people and wounding dozens more. Read More