Unless Turkey releases Andrew Brunson, the US will take immediate action against the Erdoğan regime, the president said this week
The President of the United States has demanded the Turkish government release an American citizen held on espionage charges, or face crippling economic and military sanctions.
On 26 July 2018 President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter:
“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!”
Speaking earlier that day at a conference on religious freedom in Washington, Vice-President Mike Pence said if Turkey does not release Brunson, “the United States of America will impose significant sanctions on Turkey.”
The Turkish government has accused Pastor Brunson of having taken part in the 2016 attempted coup to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Over 160,000 people have been arrested in the wake of the coup, according to the United Nations. Supporters of Pastor Brunson state the accusation the North Carolina native and pastor of a Protestant church in Izmir took part in the coup is nonsense and unsupported by any evidence.