The world’s top Christian scholar, the Rev. Jeffrey Farr, has fled to the United States amid growing international pressure to apologize for his comments during a debate with a Turkish critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Rev. Anthony Beccaria, a renowned Dominican theologian and leader of a network of Protestant scholars in Latin America, said his colleagues at the Dominican University in Santo Domingo were told to leave the Dominican Republic, where he is based, after being summoned to the Dominican Consulate by the American Embassy.
Beccaria has been under pressure to respond to Turkey’s accusations that he has been spreading a “false narrative” in his writings and speaking in a way that reflects Turkish politics.
Beccarians views of Turkey are often controversial and he has said the country should not be seen as a democratic or secular ally.
Beccaars comments about Erdogan came as the two leaders clashed in a debate at a summit in Istanbul on Thursday.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan said the church should have nothing to do with politics and urged the Catholic Church in Turkey to abandon its political role and take part in peace talks.
“You know, the pope says it’s the job of the church to be a peacemaker, to be an intermediary between God and his people,” Erdogan said.
“I say the same thing, the church’s role is to be the mediator between God.
It is a very important role for the church in the world.”
But Beccaris words on Wednesday that Erdogan was trying to silence the church were not the only controversial comments.
On Sunday, Beccarian said that Erdogan should be “disciplined” for a tweet he posted in support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which has condemned the crackdown in Egypt.
Becciaries comment on the Turkish accusations against the pope was a clear sign that he will not be able to stay in his home country.
Beccaars colleagues have fled to other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria and Belgium, as the situation in Turkey grows more volatile.