US Vice President Mike Pence has said that America will impose “significant sanctions” upon Turkey if it does not release American pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest and allow him to return to the United States.
During remarks delivered on 26 July in Washington, DC, to the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Pence singled out Brunson during an otherwise broad endorsement of the US commitment to supporting freedom to believe.
“To President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and the Turkish government, I have a message on behalf of the President of the United States of America: Release Pastor Andrew Brunson now, or be prepared to face the consequences,” Pence said. “If Turkey does not take immediate action to free this innocent man of faith and send him home to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey until Pastor Andrew Brunson is free.”
If Turkey does not take immediate action to free Pastor Andrew 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/GM9WohpMRm
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) July 26, 2018
Neither Pence, nor US President Donald Trump in a separate post to Twitter, specified what sanctions they would impose on Turkey:
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
Turkey arrested Brunson in 2016 amid a broad crackdown following a failed coup against Erdogan’s government. After 21 months in jail and several inconclusive court appearances, Brunson was moved from jail to house arrest on 25 July, with orders not to leave the country. The latest World Watch Monitor update to his legal saga is here.