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03/04/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – On March 2, 2021, a married foreign couple living in Turkey were taken to a deportation center. One is German, and the other is American. Both are Christians and had been living in Turkey for over 25 years.

The local immigration office had called the husband in, but when the couple arrived together, both of their passports were confiscated.  They were arrested and taken by the police to the local deportation center, where they were held for two nights. Thankfully on March 4, they were released.

While at the center, they were allowed to speak with a lawyer, and learned that they had both been labelled with the N-82 code for some time.  They were each interrogated by officers from the Division against Terrorism concerning how and why they came back into Turkey. This German-America couple has been labeled for forced deportation simply because they attended a conference on the topic of Ministry to Teens.

Even though they have committed no crimes and caused no disturbances, members of the Protestant community in Turkey continue to be accused of being “traitors to society.”

In information gained from face-to-face interviews, the Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey shared in their 2020 Human Rights Violations Report that members of Protestant community regularly experience “prejudice, in particular being considered traitors by society or collaborators with foreign powers, spies etc. simply due to their faith, along with the resulting insults and contempt suffered and disrespect towards their faith this brings.”

The 2020 Human Rights Violations Report also states that last year, “There was no progress in relation to protecting the rights of Christians to train their own religious workers. Many foreign church leaders were deported, were denied entry into Turkey and/or faced problems with getting their residence permits renewed.”

“During 2020 at least 30 foreign Protestants were barred from entering Turkey. When the family members of these people are also taken into account, more than 100 people have been affected by these bans. These people and their families have been resident in our country for many years. Not one of them has a criminal record or conviction of any form. This situation represents a major humanitarian problem. These entry bans, imposed with no forewarnings, disrupted family unity and created a state of chaos for all members of the individual’s family.”

For more information about the N-82 code, see ICC – MEC’s joint report Challenges Facing Christians 2016-2020. 

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: [email protected]