Tomorrow will mark the four month anniversary of a grim event. On October 7th of last year, American Christian Pastor Andrew Brunson was arrested in Turkey by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s goons and he has remained in custody ever since. We talked about this on the three month anniversary, but that was before Donald Trump was in office and could actually do anything about it. Shortly after writing that article, I spoke with one GOP source in congress who had been in touch with the Trump transition team and was told that the then President Elect had been made aware of the situation. To date, nothing has changed.
If you missed the story, the Daily Caller published a comprehensive report on how this outrage came to be. This excerpt describes how it all began.
Brunson’s saga started on Oct. 7, when he and his wife, Norine, were summoned to court in Izmir, a coastal city where they reside and preach. The couple, who has raised three children in Turkey, expected to be informed that day that they were being granted permanent resident status. Instead, the Brunsons were detained and held for deportation.
But that wasn’t the worst of it for the pastor, who heads a small Protestant flock at Izmir Resurrection Church. While Norine was ultimately released from detention, Andrew was transferred from a detention center to Izmir’s 4 Nolu T Tipi prison in early December. He was held there on suspicion of providing support to a terrorist group.
As of this week, Brunson’s family is telling the media and anyone who will listen that the pastor is being persecuted for his religious beliefs. (Fox local news)
Pastor Andrew Brunson is being accused of “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” His family says he’s being persecuted for his Christian belief.
“Honestly it’s been a nightmare that I did not think would still be going on,” his daughter Jacqueline Brunson said. “I mean he’s an American citizen. It’s kind of outrageous to think that this is happening to an American citizen.”
When asked if her father might be involved in any terroristic activity, Jacqueline Brunson said “not at all, definitely not.”
“There’s nothing that they can look at that has any ties to membership and any terrorist organization. He’s the pastor of a church,” said executive counsel Cece Heil.
This is an urgent matter which can not be left on the back burner. The Turkish press was saying just last week that a call between Erdogan and Trump was supposed to take place “soon” (possibly this past weekend) but I’m not seeing any reporting of such contact. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis have been aware of this situation from the beginning and surely the President knows about it. So what’s with the delay?
Remember your promise to the nation, President Trump. America First. An American pastor guilty of nothing more than tending to his flock in a largely Islamic nation is being held in the dungeons of a tyrant who has been torturing his perceived political enemies. I understand the situation is “complicated” given Turkey’s perceived position in global affairs, but enough is enough. You’ve been famously unafraid to pick up the phone and have frank discussions with world leaders during your first two weeks in office. You need to be on the phone with Erdogan and demonstrate that you can pass this challenging test. It’s time for Pastor Brunson to come home and you have the power to make this happen.