Pastor Michael Feulner of Yalova Lighthouse Church requests prayer for an upcoming court hearing contesting a security designation that would effectively ban him from the country.
Michael, a German citizen, came to Turkey as a relief worker following the 1999 earthquake in Izmit in which about 17,000 people were killed. He and his family settled in Yalova, where he has been pastor of Yalova Lighthouse Church since 2003.
In February 2020, about to take a flight, Michael was instead held for 30 hours in a cell at the Istanbul airport, a detention his lawyer says was illegal. He was informed that he had been labelled a threat to Turkish national security and had 10 days to leave the country.
His lawyer opened two court cases: one in Ankara to appeal the deportation order and one in Istanbul to contest the security designation and ask for its removal. Michael has so far been allowed to remain in Turkey while his case proceeds.
The first hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on 11 February in the administrative court in Istanbul.
Since early 2019 approximately 70 foreign Christians have been similarly designated and expelled from Turkey as threats to national security. One of those was another church leader from Yalova Lighthouse Church, married to a Turkish citizen.
Prayer is requested that:
- Michael’s lawyer will be able to contest the order to the best of her ability.
- The court will responsibly assess the reason behind the directive and recognise that Michael is not a security threat and does not deserve to be labelled and treated as such.
- Michael and his family will be able to remain in Turkey and continue their ministry, providing aid to many needy families in Yalova and other parts of Turkey.
- The church in Yalova will be strengthened and encouraged despite this action against pastor Michael and the other church leader.
- The Turkish state will no longer see foreign Christians as a threat but learn to accept them and appreciate their value to society.