Turkey Has Imprisoned an American Pastor for a Year. It’s Time We Take a Stand.

imprisoned American pastorIt’s been almost one year since Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, was unjustly imprisoned without charges in Turkey. Imagine spending a whole year in a Turkish prison as a hostage.

Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea what is really happening in Turkey.

Turkey has traditionally been a strong ally of the United States, but has chosen to complicate and weaken its relationship with the United States and other free nations of the world through its increasingly oppressive policies.

On Aug. 25, the Turkish government issued two new emergency decrees. Article 74 of Decree 694 states:

With the exclusion of Turkish citizens, those who are prisoners or convicts, upon assurance that they will not be punished because of their race, ethnic origin, religion, or citizenship, that they will not be subjected to demeaning punishment or treatment, or be subjected to torture or mistreatment, can be returned to another country or exchanged for prisoners or convicts in another country when national security or the country’s interests so require and upon request of the foreign minister, with the recommendation of the justice minister and the approval of the president. [emphasis added]

Despite this clear authority to simply release Brunson, who has been a pastor in Turkey for two decades, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently admitted that Turkey is holding an American citizen as a hostage in hopes that the United States will turn over a Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania.

Erdogan’s suggestion that the United States should make a hostage-style prisoner swap for an innocent American imprisoned in Turkey is appalling and will not be taken seriously. The United States will not stand idly by as these oppressive tactics target American citizens.

Turkey’s historic commitment to religious freedom and the rule of law has rapidly diminished in recent years.

In the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2017 Annual Report, Turkey was listed as a Tier 2 country of concern, meaning “nations in which the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are serious and characterized by at least one of the elements of the ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious’ [Country of Particular Concern] standard.”

In recent years, there have been multiple well-known cases of American citizens detained in foreign countries.

In some cases, the foreign government used local laws that are inconsistent with international human rights norms to justify violations of religious freedom. In other cases, they have imposed arbitrary charges (like in Brunson’s case), such as a claim of threat to national security, to justify the detention and harassment of individuals on the basis of their religion.

Our nation’s relationship with Turkey is clearly moving in the wrong direction. It’s unacceptable for a NATO ally to unjustly imprison an innocent American.

If this is how Turkey treats an American like Brunson, other Americans should hesitate before taking their business to Turkey. It is not worth the risk.

Congress has provided the executive branch with sanction authority for use against government officials who are responsible for routine and egregious human rights violations, especially religious freedom.

It is time for the United States government to use these authorities to secure the release of Americans unjustly detained around the world, including Brunson.

From - The Daily Signal - by Sen. James Lankford

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9 Comments on "Turkey Has Imprisoned an American Pastor for a Year. It’s Time We Take a Stand."

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I can’t figure out why these Americans insist on traveling to countries that are known haters of the US. I have an idea, lets take a vacation and go to iraq, or sryia, maybe north korea, oh wait, turkey, yeah, lets go to turkey!! That sounds like fun. Ok, my point is: ya gotta be an inside outside idiot to go to these countries. Turkey is what 90% muslim, just aching to cause America grief. And what, you decide to push yourself on their society. So now you expecy the US to come to your rescue? Like we don’t have enough going on. What about this turk living in the US that started that failed coup in turkey? If we want to get along with turkey, lets turn him over.
These Americans that get themselves locked up in hostile places, ah duh……

Exactly Sarge, “Why put yourself somewhere where nothing good can happen to you?” But then again, nobody here in America, at least OUR so-called media, ever questioned why would Bernie Sanders honeymoon in Moscow of all scenic places? … Oh, that’s right, that’s where ALL COMMUNISTS desire to go!!!

They also enjoy going Cuba, Bolivia and El Salvador.

The same can be said for people that continue to travel to Iran. People with dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship continue to “go back to visit relatives stuck in Iran” and routinely get arrested and detained indefinitely. Then we get to see their relatives on TV begging the U.S. government to get them out. You would think that the it would dawn on them, after seeing countless examples of other duel citizenship nationals be illegally detained on a regular basis, that there is no reason they wouldn’t be too. Maybe they should consider the reason their relatives are “stuck in Iran” in the first place. It’s an Islamic dictatorship masquerading as an Islamic republic. Seriously, a religious theocracy, which is what Iran is, could never meet the criteria of a republic in the first place. There is no representative political infrastructure. The people have NO SAY in anything. It is… Read more »

I couldnt have said it better!! Right on.

Paul, why is that turk that started the coup in turkey living like a king in Pennsylvania ? Thought you might have some info.

The Imam in Pennsylvania seems to be considered “a moderate Muslim leader” by a number of prominent Democrats and thus is considered “a friend” deserving of sanctuary status. I’ve never been able to find any specific relevant or concrete information on what, if anything, he’s done to aid American interests over the years though. No one has ever been able to point to anything specific either. So my sense is its payback for something, but we’ll never know the specifics.

By the way, I answered your question the other day as to why anyone would vote for a political system that would only lead to them losing everything. Just an FYI, if you want to read it.

I just read your response as to why people would support socialism or communism. Very informative, well spoken. I appreciate you taking the time to explain things. It just blows my mind. Why cant we just, ah, ok. Thanks again

Ya I did read it. And thank you for your imput on marters. Im pretty well versed in Russian and Chinese history regarding their conversion to communism. In fact i even speak Russian. A couple months ago my wife and I were out to breakfest and we had a new waitress. I can spot a Russian a mile away, anyway I started speaking to her in Russian, i was surprised how i was able to converse with her. She had that Russian beauty, man Russian women are beautiful (well when they are, they really are) it was a lot of fun. Its so hard to believe these college educated people are so ignorant and blind. Was it both the russians and chinese that had these 20 -30-40 year plans, with the giant combines. Millions of people starving to death, imprisoned and denied basic human needs. For some reason, and i… Read more »