Trump threatens Turkey with sanctions over detained US pastor

Jul 27, 2018, 10:34
Trump threatens Turkey with sanctions over detained US pastor

"No one can give orders to Turkey and threaten our country". The Senate has also considered bipartisan legislation to restrict loans to Turkey until it releases over a dozen US citizens it now has in captivity, including Brunson.

The global situation "must change", said Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador at large for worldwide religious freedom.

Speaking at the State Department's Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom - a new event under the Trump administration - Pence was joined by Brunson's daughter, Jacqueline Furnari.

"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".

Andrew Craig Brunson an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain North Carolina arrives at his house in Izmir Turkey. An American pastor who had been jailed in Turkey for more than one and a half years on terror and espionag
Detained American Pastor in Turkey to Be Moved From Jail to House Arrest

Halavurt also says Brunson's family is happy progress is being made in his case, but they still feel betrayed by the country their kids grew up in.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded Brunson's release and said on Twitter last week that the pastor's detention was "a total disgrace". One of Brunson's attorneys is Jay Sekulow, who also represents Trump in the Russian Federation investigation.

Fifty-year-old Brunson faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups, which Turkey considers to be terror organizations. He could receive another 20 years if he is found guilty of espionage.

Brunson was first imprisoned on terrorism charges after an attempted coup in the summer of 2016 against President Recep Erdoğan.

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"We recognize that the Iranian people enjoy few, if any, freedoms", said Pence, "least of all the freedom of religion".

There are also lingering issues over a Turkish state-run bank that was allegedly involved in busting sanctions on Iran, which hangs in the background as Trump looks to impose a fresh sanctions regime on Iran. In Iraq, religious minority groups of Yazidis and Christians victimized by ISIS [Islamic State terror group] are still in dire need of security and assistance.

The United States has long used bases in Turkey for operations across the Middle East, but relations have been strained by Washington's support for Kurdish fighters in Syria. He was charged with spying for the PKK - a designated terrorist group in the USA and Turkey - and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group Turkey accuses of orchestrating the defeated July 2016 coup attempt.

The fusillade followed a July 25 decision by a court in in the western province of Izmir to move Brunson into house arrest. He was detained by Turkish forces in the aftermath of the failed coup, The indictment against him contends he worked to convert Kurds to Christianity to sow discord in Turkey.

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The authorities accuse him of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulenist movement, which Turkey blames for a 2016 failed coup. The crackdown has targeted journalists, activists and opposition figures.

Turkey wants the USA to agree to his extradition. 'I forgive those who lie and bear false witness against me'.

Trump has spoken about Brunson already this year, bringing up his case in May during a ceremony to mark the release of an American held by Venezuela's government.

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