Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News has suggested that imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson could be released at his next court hearing on July 18. Brunson, who has been a missionary pastor in Turkey for some 23 years, was indicted on unsubstantiated charges related to terrorism, espionage and plotting to overthrow the government in 2016. For his alleged crimes, he faces up to 35 years in prison.
But the Daily News has given Brunson’s friends and family renewed hope, reporting that “Brunson’s case has been attracting enormous attention in the U.S., both politically and religiously” and has led to “a number of serious congressional interventions against Turkey, which would cause political consequences.”
Brunson, who has been in jail since late 2016, seems to be much too costly for Turkey and his continued detention would further complicate the situation. That is why many diplomats in Ankara expect his potential release followed by his deportation pending trial on the July 18 hearing.”
The U.S. has been ramping up diplomatic pressure on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with the Trump administration sending various high-level diplomats to meet with Turkish officials and plead the innocence of the pastor.
Recently, two U.S. senators visited Turkey President Erdogan focused on securing the release of U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson. Senators Lindsey Graham Jeanne Shaheen said the leader was "receptive" of their concerns. Please continue to pray w/ the Brunson family … pic.twitter.com/3L53qWYd7Z
— Open Doors USA (@OpenDoors) July 5, 2018
According to CBN News, the U.S. has even “stopped the delivery of state of the art F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey because of Brunson’s imprisonment.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen made a personal visit to President Erdogan at the end of last month to discuss Brunson’s case.
“Turkish President Erdogan’s choice to take hostages and imprison innocent Americans, to try to gain leverage over the United States, is egregious and unlawful,”Shaheen, a Democrat, said of the situation. “Erdogan and his government must abide by the rule of law within his own country and abroad, and release Pastor Andrew Brunson and other Americans unlawfully held in Turkey.”
Philip Kosnett, the American Charge d’Affaires in Ankara, said there is a “strong sense of unity in Congress between Republicans and Democrats” in the campaign to have Brunson released and returned to the United States, according to Premier UK.
Kosnett added: “[There is] a similar sense of unity between Congress and the administration that in order for the relationship between Turkey and the U.S. to progress, we need to resolve that status not only for Brunson but also for other American citizens and local Turkish employees of U.S. missions who we feel are detained unjustly under the state of emergency.”
But the Turkish newspaper urged caution.
“Of course, it is impossible to foresee what the court’s decision will be…” it noted.
(H/T: CBN News)