Prayer is requested after the home and business of an expatriate Christian in North Cyprus were searched, Bibles and other Christian materials confiscated, and he and another expatriate defamed in the national press.
On 27 January, on the pretext of investigating a business operating without a permit (the customs department had caused permissions granted by the municipality to be revoked), police from the political division of North Cyprus orchestrated a raid in conjunction with customs officials on the business premises and private home of Ryan Keating in the Famagusta (Magusa) district of North Cyprus.
During the search, officials seized New Testaments and Bibles in various languages and said that an investigation was underway to assess their legality.
On 28 January, the most prominent Turkish language newspaper in North Cyprus, Kibris Postasi, issued a factually incorrect and provocative article about missionary activity in North Cyprus, mentioning the search of his property and linking Ryan Keating with pastor Andrew Brunson, who spent two years in a Turkish prison on trumped up terrorism charges.
Ryan’s lawyer demanded that the article be removed as it was both inaccurate and defaming. In response, Kibris Postasi changed the article to include another expatriate Christian, Jerry Mattix. Ryan intends to bring a lawsuit against the paper. Ryan remarked that defamation by the Turkish media is nothing new and is used by the Turkish establishment to manipulate public sentiment against Christians, especially those believed to be actively engaged in evangelism.
Both Ryan and Jerry were formerly resident in Turkey but were targeted on account of their Christian activity and expelled, taking up residency in North Cyprus.
Christians in North Cyprus request prayer that:
- God will grant Ryan and Jerry and their families peace and protection during this stressful time
- The Turkish Cypriot readership of Kibris Postasi will not be easily manipulated by the propaganda against Ryan and Jerry
- Those responsible for the seizure of New Testaments and Bibles will be corrected for supposing they are illicit materials
- Civil freedoms in North Cyprus will be upheld and not influenced by those with intentions to limit them for the sake of their own agenda
- God will protect the diverse Christian community in North Cyprus and cause it to flourish