Where is the outrage? In a story largely ignored by the mainstream media, an American pastor has been detained by the Turkish government after living there for over twenty years.
Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife had pastored a Christian church in the city of Izmir in the country of Turkey. They were arrested in October 2016 initially for immigration violation charges. Mrs. Brunson was released, but the Turkish government has held Andrew and has bumped up the charges to terrorism. The Turkish government has offered no evidence of terrorism, but is saying Brunson is connected to Fethullah Gulen. Cleric Gulen is self-exiled in Pennsylvania.
In court, prosecutors have produced no evidence of any connection betwen Brunson and Gulen, or to any other known terrorists, for that matter.
Originally, the Turkish government had Brunson in solitary confinement, but has since moved him to the general population of the prison.
According to The Daily Caller, Pastor Brunson has written a letter to President Donald Trump begging for help from his country. The letter was published by the American Center For Law and Justice (ACLJ).
“I plead with my government — with the Trump Administration — to fight for me,
Will the Turkish government face no consequence for stubbornly continuing to hold an American citizen as a political prisoner?
(The) Turkish government has produced no proof and has rebuffed numerous attempts by the American government to secure my return to the United States.
In fact they are treating the US government with contempt and paying no price for it.”
I plead with my government — with the Trump Administration — to fight for me. I ask the State Department to impose sanctions. I appeal to President Trump: please help me. Let the Turkish government know that you will not cooperate with them in any way until they release me. Please do not leave me here in prison.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, has openly called Brunson a terrorist and has even claimed that he was behind a coup in July. Once again, there is no evidence that confirms this accusation.
In a statement, the ACLJ has called on the Trump Administration to help, stating, "The U.S. government must take a more active role in fighting for Pastor Andrew’s release. He has done nothing wrong. He is a U.S. citizen wrongfully imprisoned in a foreign land because of his Christian faith. He deserves to be free.”
The ACLJ asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to get involved and discuss Brunson’s case with Erdogan when he meets with him in Ankara on Thursday.
The State Department has not yet confirmed if they will bring this circumstance up during the meeting.
When U.S. Marine reservist Sgt. Andrew Paul Tahmooressi was detained in Mexico on a false gun running charge for seven months, the Obama Administration did nothing. They sat on their hands and let an American citizen suffer at the hands of a foreign government. Only after the media picked up the story did the former administration take action.
Now an American pastor is being held on made-up charges in Turkey. Turkey has used their state-run media to spread propaganda against him.
Let us hope that history does not repeat itself and Pastor Brunson will be allowed to return home.