Turkey Caucus Urges Administration to Take Action on Pastor Andrew Brunson
For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON – Co-Chairs of the Caucus on US-Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans today released the following statement encouraging the Administration to hold Turkey accountable for the detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson:
“We encourage the Administration to take punitive measures against Turkey if it does not release Pastor Andrew Brunson from ongoing and arbitrary detention. Pastor Brunson has committed no crime and the charges against him are clearly unfounded. The United States should not entertain the reported potential exchange of a convicted Iran sanctions evader for an innocent victim of the Turkish government’s overreaching crackdown on civil liberties. A firm stance rightfully signals that we will not tolerate the politically motivated detainment of Americans.”
“The recent expiration of the prolonged state of emergency is an insufficient nod toward the rule of law so long as Turkish authorities continue the unjust detention of U.S. citizens as well as Turkish citizens who work for the U.S. State Department in Turkey. President Erdogan must recognize that these actions damage Turkey’s longstanding partnership with the United States. That is precisely why the Administration and Congress must work in unison to pursue a coherent and strategic approach to the U.S.-Turkey relationship going forward and sanctions are just one of the many diplomatic tools at our disposal.”
Pastor Andrew Brunson is a United States citizen from South Carolina who has lived in Turkey 23 years. At the time of his arrest on October 7, 2016, he was pastor of Izmir Resurrection Church in Izmir, Turkey.