‘Follow North Korea and release American hostages in Turkey’ - US Senator

A republican U.S. senator on Thursday advised the Turkish government to take North Korea as an example and release an American pastor jailed in Turkey since September 2016, the Daily Caller reported.

“I thought I would never say this sentence, but I would like to see Turkey follow the example of North Korea and release American hostages they’re holding,” James Lankford said while speaking on the U.S. Senate floor.

Lankford also warned Americans traveling to or doing business in Turkey, saying that the Turkish government can “sweep up anyone for any accusation.”

Lankford was talking about the situation of pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing a possible life sentence in Turkey on charges of membership of the Gülen movement, a religious group accused by the Turkish of orchestrating the coup attempt in July 2016. Brunson is also charged of membership of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish nationalist armed group that has been fighting Turkey since 1984.

A secret witness in the second hearing of the case against U.S. pastor on Monday claimed that the pastor helped Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and hoped to create a Christian Kurdish state, pro-government.