Mike Pence’s wife behind the U.S. sanctions threat in Brunson crisis - columnist
Behind Washington’s threatening of Ankara with sanctions due to the ongoing detainment of Evangelical U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson is U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, wrote pro-government Yeni Şafak daily columnist Mehmet Acet.
The trial of the U.S. pastor, who was arrested in Turkey 19 months ago, has led to heightened diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence last Thursday threatened NATO- ally Turkey with imposing large sanctions for the detainment of Pastor Brunson.
The 50-year-old pastor, who faces a possible life sentence on charges of membership of banned terrorist organisations, rejects the charges against him.
Highlighting Pence’s strong identification with Evangelicalism, Acet explained that Pence’s wife, Karen, is good friends with Brunson’s wife, Norine, and the two remain in contact.
‘’Mrs. Brunson put pressure on Mrs. Pence regularly for the release of her husband,’’ Acet wrote, noting that this was what triggered Pence to take action on the matter.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has remained defiant in the face of sanctions threats, stating that Ankara will not "step back."