Prayer was requested for Pastor Michael Feulner of Yalova Lighthouse Church for a court hearing today contesting a security designation that would effectively ban him from the country.
On 11 February Michael and his lawyer attended the hearing at the administrative court in Istanbul. They were given 10 minutes to present their case. The three-judge panel asked no questions and the lawyer representing the immigration department had no comment.
The judges are expected to give a written decision within two to three months. There will be no opportunity to appeal their decision.
Michael commented that the situation felt “strange.”
Michael, a German citizen, came to Turkey as a relief worker following the 1999 earthquake in Izmit. He and his family settled in Yalova, where he has been pastor of Yalova Lighthouse Church since 2003.
In February 2020, Michael was detained illegally in a cell at the Istanbul airport. 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.
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:
- The judges will recognise that Michael does not deserve to be labelled and treated as a security threat and apply the law fairly.
- 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.
- The Turkish state will no longer see foreign Christians as a threat but learn to accept them and appreciate their value to society.