Jul 29 2018

U.S.' Pence reiterates Turkey facing sanctions unless Brunson released

The Vice President of the United States Mike Pence reiterated that the decision of a Turkish court to release detained U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson to home arrest is not enough and the U.S. is prepared to implement sanctions against Turkey until the pastor is free.

Brunson, a U.S. pastor held in Turkey on  charges of supporting both a banned Islamist group and left-wing Kurdish armed rebels since October 2016, was released to house arrest on Wednesday following months of diplomatic pressure from the United States. Following the decision by the Turkish court, Pence and U.S. President Donald Trump were quick to call Brunson’s continued detention a “total disgrace,” while warning of imposing ‘’large sanctions’’ on NATO ally Turkey.

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the dispute between Turkey and the United States over 50-year-old Brunson and the threat of sanctions coming from Washington are part of a “psychological warfare.”

Tensions between Ankara and Washington in recent weeks have not been limited to Brunson. A U.S. bill to block the delivery of new generation F-35 jets is another issue of contention between the NATO allies.