66 U.S. senators sign letter asking Turkey to release Pastor Andrew Brunson

Pastor Andrew Brunson appears in a screen capture of a video from the YouTube channel of the American Center for Law and Justice.
Pastor Andrew Brunson appears in a screen capture of a video from the YouTube channel of the American Center for Law and Justice.


Date posted: April 24, 2018

Jardine Malado

A total of 66 U.S. senators have asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to release Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is undergoing trial in Turkey on charges of espionage and links to terror groups.

In the letter to Erdoğan, the lawmakers, led by Sens. Thom Tillis and Jeanne Shaheen, stressed that they support efforts to maintain cooperation between the U.S. and Turkish law enforcement. “However, we are deeply disturbed that the Turkish government has gone beyond legitimate action against the coup plotters to undermine Turkey’s own rule of law and democratic traditions,” the letter stated.

The letter, signed by 43 Republicans and 23 Democrats, warned that the U.S. may decide to take unspecified measures” to ensure that Turkish government “respects the rights” of U.S. citizens to remain in Turkey without fear of being persecuted.

Brunson, who has led a small church in Izmir for more than 20 years, is facing up to 15 years in prison for links with the Gulen movement and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, and an additional 20 years for obtaining state secrets. The pastor has denied all allegations during a hearing last week. The indictment against Brunson was reportedly based on a mysterious testimony from a secret witness.

In a separate statement, Shaheen and Sen. James Lankford said that they would back efforts to sanction Turkish officials who were involved in the detainment of Brunson.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed support for Brunson by denouncing the espionage charges against him.

“Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason. They call him a spy, but I am more a spy than he is. Hopefully he will be allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs!” Trump said in a tweet.

Rights advocates have contended that Turkey is just using the charges against Brunson to force the U.S. to extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who was accused of instigating the failed July 2016 coup against Erdogan’s government.

On Saturday, Erdoğan said that the U.S. must extradite Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, before Brunson can be released.

“The US is behind [Gulen],” Erdogan said, according to Sputnik News. “[I]f you want Brunson, look at the steps you have taken in the past. Why don’t you deport this man in accordance with the extradition treaty?”

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has stated recently that it is convinced that there is no “credible evidence” to convict Brunson.

 

Source: Christian Today , April 23, 2018


Related News

Mother of 6 under arrest as police fail to locate husband suspected of Gulen links

Meryem Senturk, a Zonguldak woman and a mother of six, was arrested after police failed to locate his husband who has been under investigation over his alleged links to the Gulen movement, on July 19.

Erdogan Moves to Shut Prep Schools in Blow to Gulen Followers

The issue is important to Gulen’s followers, who teach about 400,000 of the 1.2 million prep school students. The schools offer additional training to students preparing for exams from elementary schools to universities.
Erdogan has so far removed thousands of police officers and prosecutors on suspected ties to Gulen’s movement, while pro-government media has targeted companies for alleged links to the cleric.

Woman gave birth while in detention, handcuffed to bed by police

A Turkish woman who was arrested when she was eight months pregnant has recently been released after giving birth while incarcerated. Turkeypurge.com reached out to the victim, who spoke about her experiences under arrest. She preferred not to reveal her identity due to concerns over Turkey’s socio-political environment.

Retired public servant under custody for distributing donations to post-coup victims

M.S. was rounded up while he was withdrawing the money allegedly transferred from Canada-based Gulen followers to his account, at a bank branch in Izmir’s Bergama district. According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, the funds were raised to support post-coup prisoners and those under investigation as well as the people dismissed as part of the government crackdown and their families.

‘We will not learn how to struggle against corruption from you’

It has already been 10 days that Turkey has been shaking with the corruption scandal that has reshuffled the Cabinet and brought serious international consequences to the country, such as weakening the political position of Ankara in the neighborhood of Syria and Iran and strained ties with the US.

First Lego League qualifier at Brooklyn Amity School

Brooklyn Amity School became a site where students dealt with all kinds of animals, including alligators, frogs, reindeer, sharks, cows, pandas, bees, and seals. As a host of the First Lego League qualifier competition, 11 different schools came to Amity School. This year, the FLL’s concept was “Animal Allies,” which allowed students to think and act like scientists and engineers.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

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

In Case You Missed It

What to know about the group Erdogan is blaming for Turkey’s coup

Saudi Scholar al-Qarni: Gulen serves with wisdom

Turkey targets the Gulen family

Answers to slanderous accusations about Hizmet movement

Smear campaign websites cleared while targeted journalists accused

1915 tragedy to be commemorated with foreign delegation for first time

Irvine’s new arrivals — Turkish asylum seekers, after a failed coup and a sadly successful purge

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News