Trump Puts Turkey on Blast for Refusing to Release Jailed American Pastor


Trump is no perfect Christian, that’s not news.

But it doesn’t take a Christian to stand up for international religious freedom or the persecuted church in oppressive Islamist or atheist regimes.

Trump boldly called out the nation of Turkey this week for falling through on their promises to release jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson who has been held for over two years on bogus terrorism charges.

“Pastor Brunson has been the victim of one of the most notorious smear campaigns in Turkish history,” says Aykan Erdemir, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former member of Turkey’s parliament, speaking to CBN News.

Erdemir and others following Bruson’s case had thought that he might be freed Wednesday of this week, but instead, was sent back to prison after a judge set another hearing for him on October 12th.

CBN explains that Turkey has attracted quite a bit of backlash from the West over Brunson’s imprisonment, and even in the midst of borderline violent partisanship in Congress, members of both parties have been united on this front, proposing a slew of new sanctions against the increasingly authoritarian nation.

Erdogan has, before the watchful eyes of the international community, recently consolidated far more power for himself than previously held by Turkish heads of state.

But Brunson may have been a move too far for the power-hungry Erdogan:

Erdemir and other experts call Erdogan’s treatment of Brunson “hostage diplomacy” but say it’s backfiring.

“I think we are now seeing an implosion of Erdogan’s hostage diplomacy, a tactic he advocated initially to gain diplomatic advantage, has backfired, undermining Turkey’s global image — but more importantly tarnishing Erdogan’s image, which is already pretty grim, to begin with,” Erdemir said.

However, Erdemir tells CBN News Turkey’s legal system, which acts as a puppet of the executive branch, may actually benefit Brunson if Erdogan has decided that he’s ready to be rid of the pastor.

“Because Erdogan could simply pick up the phone and demand Pastor Brunson’s release, even acquittal,” Erdemir explained.

Meanwhile, CBN concludes, the international church is praying for Brunson to be released and reunited with his family. Please join us in praying for them as well!