6/21/2023 Turkey (International Christian Concern) ––Ali*, a Protestant missionary residing in Turkey, faces jail time and deportation after the Turkish government refused his application to renew his residency after he received an N82 restriction code.
Ali’s case is one of many instances of the Turkish government weaponizing N82s and G87s against Protestant missionaries. N82 restriction codes require foreigners to receive prior authorization from the government before entering the country, acting as “de facto entry bans” since the government rejects most visa applicants. G87 codes are security designations demanding the restriction of entry or deportation of “Foreigners who pose a risk to general safety.” These restrictions generally stem from suspicion based on haphazard intelligence.
Since 2019, the number of expulsions of foreigners from Turkey has increased, with the International Society for Human Rights noting, “There is no common ground among these expelled persons, except that they are all Protestant Christians, who are active in church life and/or active in evangelism.”
The report later states, “Expulsion of missionary believers is illegal. The accusations that those affected are threats to public safety are ridiculous and outrageous.”
Despite making up less than a tenth of a percent of Turkey’s population, the government perceives Protestant Christians as a threat to Turkish culture and identity. International Christian Concern’s (ICC) Regional Manager for the Middle East and North Africa, Joseph Daniel, notes, “In the current religious climate, government leaders, the education system, and the general society all push the narrative that to be Turkish is to be Muslim. Any Turk who decides to leave Islam and become a Christian is seen as a traitor and a threat to national unity and security.”
This surge of expulsions has been devastating for Turkish Protestant congregations since they depend on missionaries for leadership and training. Workers like Ali are deported despite years of residency with no criminal record, with some even having Turkish spouses and children.
While challenges to these deportations usually are dismissed by the Turkish courts, Daniel says, “ICC has been helping Christians facing these N82 codes by providing the sources to appeal to Turkish authorities and to remove the codes so that these leaders can remain to serve these indigenous Turkish Christians.” Through Ali’s case, ICC aims to set a legal precedent in Turkey of restricting the use of N82s and G87s as tools for discrimination.
*Name changed for security.
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