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A Turkish Protestant pastor arrested by police in the Black Sea province of Samsun last week is accused of involvement in prostitution and the human trafficking of refugees.

Pastor Orhan Picaklar of the Samsun Agape Church was summoned to local police headquarters for questioning on Monday 11 November. The pastor was detained until Wednesday evening in a police investigation led by the Morals Bureau of the Public Order Division. The criminal case was reportedly based on a telephoned complaint from an unidentified person.

‘It is obviously a deliberate plot,’ a spokesperson from the Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey told World Watch Monitor, saying that Picaklar had been harassed for years by local media and city authorities who openly opposed the church’s existence.

Picaklar and his congregation have been accused repeatedly of ‘illegal missionary activities’ by local TV channels and newspapers, claiming the church used bribery and prostitution to deceive young people and convert them to Christianity. The church building itself has been vandalised, stoned and its windows broken a number of times. The pastor continues to receive death threats over the telephone and internet, and was once kidnapped by men posing as plainclothes policemen.

Picaklar told Ihlas News Agency on the night of his release that he would not leave Samsun or stop his ministry in the church over this.

Source: World Watch Monitor

Prayer Points

  • Pray the Lord will bring the truth to light in this case; pray against any corruption or deception.
  • Pray the Lord will grant wisdom and strength to Pastor Picaklar and the members of his congregation.
  • Pray for all believers in Turkey, that they will rejoice in the opportunity to grow in Christlikeness through the ongoing opposition they face (James 1:2-4).