Prayer was requested for Pastor Michael Feulner of Yalova Lighthouse Church for a court hearing on 11 February 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. He and his family settled in Yalova, where he has been pastor of Yalova Lighthouse Church since 2003.
In February 2020, Michael was illegally detained in a cell at the Istanbul airport. Informed that he had been labelled a threat to Turkish national security and had 10 days to leave the country, Michael initiated court proceedings requesting the removal of the security designation and cancellation of the deportation order.At the initial court hearing in Istanbul on 11 February the three-judge panel asked no questions and immigration department lawyer had no comment. On 5 March – which happened to be Michael’s birthday – the good news came that the court in Istanbul will not rule on the deportation order until the court in Ankara decides whether the security designation is justified.
That hearing will take place on 22 March. To date the courts have consistently rejected appeals from Christians regarding the security designation. If Michael loses, he will be able to appeal at a higher court and remain in Turkey during the legal process.
In a message to friends, the Feulner family wrote: “This information has made us dance with joy and the tension from the last weeks has fallen off us like a heavy burden.”
Christians in Yalova are thankful Michael will be able to remain and serve the church for the time-being, even if the present situation means he cannot leave the country. They request prayer that: