Christians in Turkey request prayer for an expatriate Christian worker who was arrested, detained overnight and issued with a deportation order.
David Byle, a joint U.S. and Canadian citizen, was arrested after a routine I.D. check at Ankara train station on Saturday 13 October and taken to the Anti-terror Police Department for interrogation. David was released on Sunday afternoon, but given fifteen days to leave the country.
David has been serving in Turkey for eighteen years and has faced a number of deportation attempts due to his evangelistic efforts. He was first arrested in 2007 while conducting street evangelism. The official police report accused him of “missionary activity, disturbing the peace and insulting Islam.” He was detained for three days at that time, but since missionary activity is legal in Turkey, and the literature he distributed did not slander Islam, a later court dropped the charges.
In 2009 David was arrested again while conducting evangelism. He was due to be deported, but his lawyer successfully blocked the deportation order. In 2016 he was detained for eight days, but his deportation was again stopped through his lawyer’s intervention. In February 2017 Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled to temporarily block the deportation order until specific “information and documents” had been secured as evidence that he is a director, member or supporter of “terrorist organisations” or is otherwise a threat to public order and security. David has been advised to legally contest the latest deportation order, but also to leave within fifteen days as directed by the order.
David and his family have been deeply touched by the support of friends and colleagues, writing,“(We) have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support, not only from believers here in Turkey, but from literally all around the world. It means a lot to us and encourages us greatly to know we’re not alone, that we’re a part of such a great family, God’s family.”
David and his family request prayer as they consider the next steps. Please pray that
- David and his family will continue to be strengthened and encouraged during this ordeal
- David will have the wisdom and guidance to know how to proceed, including in discussions with his co-workers
- God will comfort the Christian community in Turkey, especially since this comes immediately after the trauma of Andrew Brunson’s detention and eventual release last Friday
- The Turkish state will stop its victimisation of expatriate Christian workers