Pastor compelled to depart home in Turkey gets legal aid

A pastor living in Turkey, David Byle, was compelled to depart from the country. He has been living in the country for the past 19 years and he sees the place as his home as he raised his children there. The reason he was asked to leave the country was because he talked about his faith to people around him. However, Europe’s top human rights court already has his case as filed by ADF International.

According to David Byle, people were always happy and eager to hear him speak in public. He added that when the government attempted to stop him and his group from preaching, he successfully won the fight. This was because they have a right to freedom of religion which is embedded in the constitution of Turkey. Although the government is not in support of what the pastor and his team is doing, Byle affirmed that a lot of people want them and love what they do. More so, they were called by God and they want the people to know God’s marvelous works.

In 2016, Byle was a victim of an unjust deportation proclamation. However, he went to court to challenge the decision. He was permitted to live in the country but he was later arrested. This was a day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkey prison in October 2018.

Although he was assured that he could stay in the country, Byle got a new order to depart the country in a period of fifteen days. The pastor was alleged to be a threat to public order by the authorities. This was after he successfully challenged the past charges made against him. However, Byle left Turkey but he didn’t know that the authorities placed a permanent re-entry ban on him. He became aware when he tried to go back to his family. He now stays in Germany with them.

Byle started his ministry as a street evangelist while preaching the gospel beyond Istanbul. He observed the increase in harassment in 2007 when the police became uncomfortable with the way he displayed Christianity publicly. The change in the political atmosphere has given the government a reason to be more rigid and hostile with pastors. On a regular basis, pastors face threats for practicing their faith openly.

The statement by the Legal Officer for ADF International, Lidia Rieder, read that no one should be treated indifferently due to their faith. The hostile treatment David and other foreign Christians face in Turkey is only evident that they want to frustrate the Christian faith. More so, it goes against religious freedom.

In addition, Deputy Director of ADF International, Robert Clarke, stated that everyone is free to select their religion and practice it either privately or publicly. Also, he spoke against the ban on Byle into Turkey, a place he has called home for 19 years. Hence, he is optimistic the court will rule appropriately.

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