US State Department ‘Can’t Imagine’ Accepting Erdogan Offer to Trade Hostage Pastor for Gulen


Date posted: September 30, 2017

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert rejected a proposal from Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to trade wrongfully detained American pastor Andrew Brunson for Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen on Thursday, asserting the Trump administration was placing its efforts of bringing Brunson home.

In remarks this week, Erdogan dismissed the idea of releasing Brunson—who faces dubious charges of being both a Gulen supporter, despite being a Christian, and an enabler of Kurdish separatism and has been additionally accused of being a CIA agent—without the United States extraditing Gulen, a former ally he blames for the failed coup against his Islamist government in July 2016. Erdogan offered to trade “that pastor … for this one” and claimed that Gulen’s extradition was easier than Brunson’s release because Gulen is not facing any criminal charges in the United States.


Gulen denies involvement in the coup and the U.S. government has not accepted the extradition request citing a lack of evidence that Gulen has committed any crimes.


“Look, I can’t imagine that we would go down that road,” Nauert told reporters Thursday, referring to the trade proposal. “We have received extradition requests for him [Gulen]. I have nothing new for you on that. We continue to call for Pastor Brunson’s release.”

Nauert confirmed that Turkey had repeatedly demanded Gulen’s arrest. “We continue to evaluate it, take a look at the materials that the Turkish Government has provided us. I don’t have anything new for you on the subject of that,” she noted.

On Brunson, Nauert asserted that the State Department “has been in as close of contact as we can be with Pastor Brunson. We last were able to visit him on September the 18th.”

“He was wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey, and we’d like to see him brought home,” Nauert concluded. President Donald Trump personally urged Erdogan to free the pastor in May, when the Turkish head of state visited the White House. At the time, Erdogan also raised the issue of extraditing Gulen.

Speaking to reporters, Erdogan claimed this week that he had offered America to free Brunson in exchange for Gulen, the head of a charter school network and movement known as Hizmet who resides in Pennsylvania. “We have given you all the documents necessary [for the extradition of Gülen]. But they say, ‘give us the pastor.’ You have another pastor in your hands. Give us that pastor and we will do what we can in the judiciary to give you this one,” Erdogan said.

“They say, ‘don’t get involved with him.’ How come? You say you have a judiciary, do you think we don’t? Anyway, the one that we have [in our hands] is being tried, the one you have [in your hands] is not being tried. It is easier for you to give,” he concluded.

Gulen faces over 3,500 life sentences in Turkey for his alleged involvement in the coup; tens of thousands of people accused of being Gulenists have faced arrest, detention, or dismissal at state jobs following the failed coup. Gulen denies involvement in the coup and the U.S. government has not accepted the extradition request citing a lack of evidence that Gulen has committed any crimes.

Erdogan’s remarks on Brunson have incensed many in the United States who view the pastor—who had preached in Turkey for over two decades without incident—as a hostage.

“President Erdogan’s suggestion that the U.S. should make a hostage-style prisoner swap for an innocent American imprisoned in Turkey is appalling and will not be taken seriously,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said. CNS News also compiles responses from the Twitter accounts of various American lawmakers and commenters asserting that Erdogan’s open office to liberate Brunson proves he is being held hostage, innocent of the charges he faces.

Brunson’s is not the first case that has resulted in a Western country accusing Erdogan of hostage diplomacy. In August, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel used the term in response to the arrests of multiple Germany citizens on unfounded charges. Following their arrests, Erdogan demanded Germany extradite several individuals he accused of being “Gulenists” involved in the failed coup.

 

Source: Breitbart , September 29, 2017


Related News

Bank Asya: Battle for survival against a presidential onslaught

Not all banking collapses are alike or lead to extinction. Some are caused by systemic, catastrophic events such as the global financial crisis of 2008, while others are caused by idiosyncratic exposure to geopolitical factors. Bank Asya, Turkey’s largest private participation bank, is currently in the midst of the latter and is potentially edging toward disintegration.

Turkey’s STV opens Washington studio, first among Turkish TV networks

One of Turkey’s leading TV networks, the Samanyolu Media Group is expanding its scope by opening a new bureau and a studio equipped with cutting-edge technology in Washington, D.C., amid unceasing government repression at home.

Fethullah Gulen’s Message of Condolences for Victims of Terrorist Attack at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport

Turkish Islamic scholar and peace advocate Fethullah Gulen, who has been residing in Saylorsburg, PA since 1999, condemned the horrific terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport.

Peace Islands Institute donates platefuls of generosity

The meat is donated as part of the annual Eid al-Adha/Kurban Bayrami celebration, which is the Festival of Sacrifice in the Muslim religion. Eid al-Adha commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command, and marks the end of Muslims’ annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Letter campaign launched for Turkey’s imprisoned women, mothers

In the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, more than 17,000 women from all walks of life including teachers, doctors and housewives have been jailed in Turkey on coup charges in government-led operations. There are currently more than 700 children accompanying their mothers in Turkish jails.

Countering Violent Extremism Symposium draws significant participation

Jointly organized by Intercultural Dialog Platform and Gulen Chair at Ku Leuven in Brussels, Belgium, Countering Violent Extremism: Mujahada and Muslims’ Responsibility Symposium was attended by some 400 including academics, opinion leaders and NGO representatives.

Latest News

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

Grondahl: Turkish community strong in wake of threats from back home

Turkish-Kyrgyz educator’s abduction shows Ankara’s ruthless disregard for law: HRW

Kenya: Investigate Deportation of Turkish National

In Case You Missed It

Ex-ministers call on gov’t to abandon efforts to shut down Turkish schools

Turkish charity delivers sacrificial meat to 30,000 families in Philippines

Bank Asya answers smear campaign

Celebrating Turkish Cultural Day

Flynn stopped military plan against ISIS that Turkey opposed – after being paid as its agent

‘We are a Kurdistan company,’ says Kurdish Gulen school official

Kimse Yok Mu volunteer doctors back from Central African Republic

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News