PoliticsForeign Policy


Trump Administration Tells Turkey To Release American Pastor — Or Else

Pastor Andrew Brunson was arrested in 2016 and charged with terrorism and espionage.
Posted at 1:06 PM, Jul 26, 2018

The Trump administration says Turkey will face economic sanctions unless the country releases an American pastor who has been in custody there for nearly two years. 

Vice President Mike Pence first mentioned it while speaking at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom Thursday. President Donald Trump tweeted the same sentiment not long after.

Let's take a step back: In 2016, Pastor Andrew Brunson was arrested and charged with terrorism and espionage. Turkey claims Brunson has connections to two groups the country considers terrorist organizations — the Kurdistan Workers Party, and a cleric living in the U.S. who Turkey says led a coup attempt in 2016. Brunson denies the allegations.

He could face up to 35 years in prison.

Brunson was let out of jail Wednesday and put on house arrest for reported health concerns. 

President Trump and Vice President Pence have been calling for Turkey to release Brunson for months.