An American pastor who is being held in jail in Turkey is calling on the Trump administration to secure his release.
Pastor Andrew Brunson was detained, along with his wife, Norine, in October. The couple had been operating as missionaries and leading a small church in Izmir, on Turkey’s western coast.
Norine Brunson was released, but Andrew remains in custody. He has been accused of immigration violations as well as being a member of a terrorist organization.
Turkey has experienced increased tensions since an attempted coup rocked the country last year. Brunson has specifically been accused of having ties to Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric responsible for the failed coup.
Brunson has firmly denied these charges. "Even though I have a long public track record as a church pastor, they falsely accuse me of being a member of an Islamist terrorist group," he stated.
Brunson has appealed to the U.S. government, and specifically to President Trump, to advocate on his behalf.
“I plead with my government – with the Trump Administration – to fight for me,” Brunson wrote from his jail cell, according to Christian Today.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today, which is a main reason Brunson has made a point of calling on the U.S. government for help.
The American Center for Law and Justice is also advocating on Brunson’s behalf.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: March 30, 2017