On Thursday, President Donald Trump threatened to punish Turkey for the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson.
“The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being,” the president tweeted. “He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!”
The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being. He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2018
This declaration came a day after a Turkish court allowed Brunson to leave prison for house arrest to help him recover his health. The pastor still faces 35 years in prison after the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan swept him, along with several other Americans, in his purges after the aborted coup.
As PJ Media’s Bridget Johnson reported, the Turkish government has arrested 80,147 people since July 15, 2016, charging them with being tied to Fethullah Gülen, a Pennsylvania-based moderate political foe of Erdoğan. Erdoğan has demanded Gülen in exchange for Brunson, a trade the U.S. has wisely refused.
Brunson lived 23 years in Turkey, pastoring the Protestant Izmir Resurrection Church. He was arrested in October 2016.
According to the Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors, Turkey is the world’s 31st worst country for Christians.
Last week, President Donald Trump called on Erdoğan to release the imprisoned pastor, declaring it “a total disgrace that Turkey will not release a respected U.S. Pastor, Andrew Brunson, from prison.”
Trump addressed the Turkish president directly, adding, “Erdoğan should do something to free this wonderful Christian husband & father. He has done nothing wrong, and his family needs him!”
With no response from Turkey’s president, it seems Trump has decided to take action. It has been a long time coming.