Aug 14 2018

Turkish journalist hints at Brunson release

Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen detained in Turkey since 2016, could be released immediately under certain circumstances, wrote journalist Abdulkadir Selvi, in the Hürriyet newspaper on Tuesday.

Selvi, known for his close contacts with Turkey’s political elite, said the dispute over Brunson, which has contributed to the dramatic decline in Turkey’s economic situation over recent days, now resembles a “wrestling-match” between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. As such, any solution to the crisis would require direct contact between the two leaders.

Discussing the possibility of Brunson’s release, Selvi suggested that should new information or new documents pertaining to the case appear, they could result in Brunson’s release. More specifically he wrote that, “a document indicating that the long detention has negatively affected his mental health would suffice,” adding that under such conditions he could be released immediately.   

However, Selvi also struck a cautious note, adding that even were the crises over Brunson to be resolved, “there is no doubt that another crisis will occur”.  

The detention of Brunson, on charges the United States says are trumped-up, has contributed to a perception that Turkey’s judiciary is being used a political tool by the Turkish government, with some suggesting that he was detained to be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Washington. Turkey has disputed this account, stressing that its judiciary is independent of government control.