Source: World Watch Monitor, September 29, 2017
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has for the first time confirmed publicly that a U.S. pastor jailed in Turkey for the past 12 months is being held by his government as a political hostage.
In a speech at his presidential palace [on September 28], Erdoğan openly called on the United States to exchange Pastor Andrew Brunson for Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish citizen living in exile in the U.S. since 1999, who is accused of masterminding last year’s failed coup.
“[The U.S.] says, ‘Give us the pastor back,’” Erdoğan said. “You have one pastor [of ours] as well. The pastor we have [Brunson] is on trial. Yours [Gülen] is not—he is living in Pennsylvania. Give him to us. You can easily give him to us. You can give him right away. Then we will try him [Brunson] and give him to you.’”
Turkey has launched a massive internal crackdown over the past 15 months to identify and punish the FETO (Fethullah Terror Organisation) network accused of infiltrating Turkey’s armed forces and government. More than 50,000 “suspected” judges, prosecutors, soldiers, academics, journalists, human rights activists, and police officers have been jailed, held for months in pre-trial detention.
Since October 7, 2016, Andrew Brunson has been one of these prisoners.
» Check out the latest edition of EMQ Online for an article about a movement that bears Gülen’s name. This group has been quite active in the U.S., running a network of charter schools, interfaith dialogue groups, and cultural centers. The article focuses on ways to engage followers with the gospel (subscription required).