Well, apparently President Trump’s harsh, no-nonsense direct approach to things is rubbing off on those around him.
Turkey, a speck of a nothing country that is supposed to be a loyal NATO ally—you know one of those countries we are supposed to defend if they are attacked because of Article V that says an attack on one is an attack on all—has been holding an American Pastor hostage for about two years now.
Fifty-year-old Evangelical Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has a family in North Carolina, was doing what he believed the good Lord had called on him to do ministering to people in Turkey when he found himself in the middle of a coup.
It was on the 15th of July 2016 that a group of men with the Turkish Armed Forces calling themselves the Peace at Home Council made their move. The group tried to seize a number of government buildings in Istanbul and Ankara that included the Turkish Parliament and the Presidential Palace that were bombed by aircraft.
Some 300 people were killed by the time forces loyal to the government of President Erdogan put an end to their attempted coup. When the coup was stopped a lot of people were arrested… Some estimates are as high as 40,000 arrests that included ten thousand soldiers and close to three thousand judges.
Somehow Pastor Brunson found himself in custody and being accused of espionage and collusion with terrorist organizations. OK, fine… Only after someone is arrested people in a civilized world guided by the rule of law are expected to be put on trial where some sort of evidence is presented to prove the accusations… Not Pastor Brunson… Not in Turkey.
After two years of being detained and losing a lot of weight diplomatic pressure finally got Pastor Brunson released from prison but not free… He is now on home arrest with a GPS bracelet on his ankle.
President Trump’s patience is apparently running thin. On July 18, 2018, he fired off the following Tweet:
A total disgrace that Turkey will not release a respected U.S. Pastor, Andrew Brunson, from prison. He has been held hostage far too long. @RT_Erdogan should do something to free this wonderful Christian husband & father. He has done nothing wrong, and his family needs him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018
Today Vice President Pence stepped in front of the television cameras and issued Turkey a stern warning that is Pastor Brunson was not released soon that we would levy harsh sanctions against them until he was released… NATO Ally or no NATO Ally!
The threat was reinforced by Tweets from both President Trump and Vice President Pence… Have a look:
Spoke by phone w/ Pastor Andrew Brunson after his release from prison in Turkey. While out of prison, this man of faith is still under house arrest. Assured him @POTUS & our entire Admin will keep working to secure his full release & get him back to the USA #FreePastorBrunson
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) July 26, 2018
The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being. He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2018
BREAKING: VP Mike Pence issues stark warning to Turkey: "If Turkey doesn't take immediate action to free Pastor Brunson and send him home to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey until this innocent man of faith is free" pic.twitter.com/pDph2oUhM8
— Wired Sources (@WiredSources) July 26, 2018
Now I’m not a political analyst or political adviser, but if the Turkish President were to ask me, I’d advise him not to play hardball with President Trump… If he says he will place sanctions… He will place sanctions…