May 27 2018

U.S. pastor jailed in Turkey is not a spy - President Trump

A U.S. pastor who has been jailed in Turkey since 2016 and facing a possible life sentence on charges of membership of banned terrorist organisations is not a spy and a totally innocent man, president Donald Trump said on Saturday in Washington. 

American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been living in Turkey for two decades, is charged with membership of both the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government has labelled the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed Kurdish group fighting Turkey since 1984. If convicted, Brunson could face up to 35 years in jail.

“Wonderful Christian pastor. He is right now in Turkey. He has been there for a long time. They say he is a spy, but he is not a spy,” president Trump said about Brunson while welcoming Joshua Holt, an American who has been recently set free by the Venezuelan government, after two years imprisonment.

President Trump was that his administration was working for Brunson’s release. There is a trial going on. But this trial is not so much of a trial. We are talking with folks in Turkey about doing something about it,” Trump said. 

“Pastor Brunson. I hope you can hear us. We will be helping you at some point. It has been a long time. He is a totally innocent man,” Trump continued.