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Christians continue to suffer as President Erdoğan expands reach, power

Last April I wrote about Evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who was detained by the Turkish government and accused of being a supporter of Fetullah Gulen whom the Erdoğan administration blames for the failed coup attempt of July 2016. Little has changed since then as Brunson remains under custody without bail; if he is convicted of being a spy, he will likely spend rest of his life behind bars in a country where he went to spread the good news of Christ.

Brunson and his legal representation have been denied access to any court material. On March 13th, Turkish prosecutors demanded life imprisonment for Brunson with the accusation of not only organizing the failed coup but also “establishing links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and obtaining espionage information for political and military purposes” The only evidence for the veracity of these charges is a “secret” witness. The fact that the Gulen movement is Muslim in nature and PKK is an organization with socialist and atheistic tendencies does not seem matter to the Turkish authorities.

Gulen lives in Philadelphia and both the Obama and Trump administrations refused to extradite him to Turkey because President Erdoğan has failed produce a reasonable and just cause. Gulen’s involvement in the coup is not established, but evidence or eyewitnesses is not requirement for imprisonment according to current Turkish government. Due process, it seems, has become an unknown to the country that now looks drastically different from the lands of my childhood. Erdoğan has systematically eliminated prominent members of the judiciary and the military who upheld secularist and nationalist ideals established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938). Atatürk’s reliance of on the brute force of the military and massive social change—including the implementation of educational reforms based on the thought of John Dewey—were used to hold back the tide of Islam, within which there is little or no distinction between the temporal and the spiritual.

Read more at Catholic World Report. 

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