Trump administration threatens to punish Turkey unless it frees detained American minister

LATimes | 072618

At a conference Thursday affirming the U.S. commitment to global religious freedom, Vice President Mike Pence threatened economic sanctions against Turkey if its government fails to release an American minister being held there.

Pence denounced Turkey’s 2-year-long imprisonment of Protestant minister Andrew Brunson and threatened to impose harsh economic sanctions on the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if Brunson is not freed.

Brunson was released from Turkish prison this week but placed under house arrest. Turkey accuses him of having a role in a failed 2016 military coup that led to a government crackdown that has jailed thousands of people.

President Trump later echoed Pence on Twitter, saying Brunson was “a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being” who was “suffering greatly.”

“This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!” Trump wrote.


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