President Donald Trump has taken the global spotlight of the world media and harnessed its production power of reach onto an important cause: the imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey- an American evangelical folk hero who has been kidnapped by the Erdogan regime and wrongfully accused of being a “spy” for promoting Christianity in a Muslim dominant society.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a modern manipulator of the Muslim world in a post-9/11 society, one that is still filled with well-received distrust for the Islamic death cult and its radical ideas, has been a figurehead for the desires of an oppressive regime, one which has seen its own brutal crackdowns throughout the region after an attempted coup just two years ago.
Under the bloodshed and chaos of this crackdown, there have been little who stand in the way of Erdogan’s madness who haven't faced detention if not execution, even American citizens who travel from abroad to spread the gospel of the Lord via Christianity, such as that of Pastor Andrew Brunson.
Andrew Brunson is one of tens of thousands of those within the walls of the Turkish regime who were rounded up in the wake of the the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, along with the arrests of loyal Turkish military personnel, civil servants, educators, academics, dissidents, and journalists who were simply in the wrong place amidst the paranoia of the nearly defeated Erdoğan.
During the October 2016 coup efforts in Turkey, President Obama did very little to negotiate a swift release for Brunson or any American detained under the totalitarian crackdown within Turkey, nor did he even acknowledge publicly that Americans have been held captive by the brutal regime of Erdoğan; but it's not as if many Americans would expect Barack Hussein Obama to care for anyone following the ideals of Christ.
Brunson wasn't the only American detained either, as he was subjugated to detention alongside a Chemistry Professor from Widener University in Pennsylvania, and his brother Mustafa Kul, each of whom was arrested in August of 2016 in Bursa.
High profile targets such as Serkan Golge, a 37-year-old NASA physicist who happened to be in Turkey at the moment of the coup efforts, were also imprisoned; as well as several non-American citizens, including two US embassy workers Hamza Ulucay, a Turkish national who worked in the US mission in Adana for over three decades, and Metin Topuz, a Turkish national who worked in the American embassy in Istanbul, were also taken in the dead of night, along with Mete Canturk, another employee of the embassy, who was arrested and detained on similar charges while his wife and child were questioned by investigators in Amasya accused of being foreign spies, and the embassy's Deputy Chief, Philip Kosnett, was taken to a makeshift labor camp for interrogations.
All of these people are either American citizens, or were employed within the US Embassy at the time of the coup efforts, and were arrested following military slaughter and crackdown on innocents as a result of Erdoğan accusing anyone with ties to the West as having been involved in the coup.
According to Erdoğan, if you were in any way affiliated with the United States of America, <i>despite the US having no involvement in the coup</i>, you were subject to detention, torture, isolation, or death; all committed under the guise of Espionage and treason charges against those with ties to the West, none of which there is any evidence outside of rhetoric to support.
For Pastor Andrew Brunson, he was arrested alongside his wife Norine, as their three children were forced to endure, only to later have his wife freed and he accused of being a rogue agent working against the interests of Turkey.
For nearly a year Brunson would sit… In silence with little hope, until the Trump Presidency gave Norine the motivation to plea for her husband's release.
Donald J. Trump was elected to the highest office in American in November of 2016, only to assume office in January of 2017, and soon thereafter to have learned of those taken by the brutal Erdoğan under the cloak of darkness.
In March of 2017, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson first met with Norine Brunson, where she told the remarkable tale of her husband, now imprisoned behind enemy lines in Turkey, wrongfully accused of being a spy or having any involvement in the coup d'état.
As Tillerson would make the President aware of the formal enslavement of Americans under the iron first of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House has laid out negotiation tactics to attempt to free Brunson and others being held without merit from within Turkey.
The Turkish Government would respond with at first proclaiming that Brunson was associated with the <a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gülen_movement"> Gülen Movement</a>, an organization named after Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, who has lived in the United States of America seeking Asylum from Erdoğan since 1999.
The Gülen Movement is a blend of Islamic and Christian social beings who profess advocation of universal access to education, civil society, and peace within the Islamic world, who once held heavy influence in the Turkish communities outside of government.
As the movement continued to grow, the Turkish regime worked to declare the group a <i>terrorist organization</i>, and have since attempted to label any Christian pastor, or Western-based religious scholar to enter Turkey as having some affiliations with this organization as a means of ensured persecution and scrutiny.
The Gülen Movement was once a powerful sect of the rule in Turkey, and since its split from Erdoğan, has received them. Lame for a severity of issues, including the coup d'état efforts.
The United Kingdom has argued that Turkey is incorrect in its assertion that The Gülen Movement is behind the attempted overthrow of Turkish rulers, and stated on several occasions that there is no evidence to support such a claim.
The March <a href="https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/615/615.pdf"> British Parliament report </a> specifically states that “while there is evidence to indicate that some individual Gülenists were involved,” they “are unlikely to have been the only elements involved in the coup attempt.” There's also a strong condemnation of the “severity of the measures undertaken by the Turkish government after the coup attempt is justified by the scale of the threat.”
Over 50,000 plus people have been incarcerated by Turkey as part of their totalitarian crackdowns, and the numbers still rise even today two years after.
Brunson was charged with "membership in an armed terrorist organization," "gathering state secrets for espionage, attempting to overthrow the Turkish parliament and government and to change the constitutional order,” in what international law experts all have considered a gross miscarriage of justice, if not a complete farce to begin with.
None of the things Brunson was accused of doing had ever occurred, let alone had he done anything outside of retaining peaceful Christian relations with leaders inside of an Islamic ruled country, where he lived side by side with the Turkish people, serving God in an arm of faithful sacrifice putting others before himself.
The honor of which Pastor Brunson claimed to feel to serve the Lord, and send the righteous glory of God unto the people or Turkey, is one that Christian missionaries around the world endure to give hope to those in embattled regions, as a selfless means of promoting the values of the Bible.
Whether the people who Pastor Brunson was able to reach through prayer were able to continue to worship is one that we simply do not have the answer to, but this type of oppression doesn't speak highly of the Turkish government’s desire to hold a particular religion back from its organic growth.
Essentially, you're not free to speak as you please in Turkey and dare you to think too loudly you will be judged for doing so.
After the Gülen allegations thrown at Pastor Brunson, he would later be accused of a far more devious ploy, suggestive that he was somehow an American intelligence asset, working for the United States of America's goal of espionage in Turkey from the pulpit.
Pastor Brunson firmly denied any efforts of espionage, and has remained an integral part of the world stage in shining the light on the complete insanity of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as a radically paranoid “President,” who was “elected” in 2014, despite having spent the previous eleven years as “Prime Minister,” in what clearly appears to be a Dictatorship that uses fictitious elections to present a sense of freedom in Turkey.
In a May of 2018 court hearing for Brunson in Aliaga, Turkey, eleven straight hours of formal propaganda were spewed against Brunson.
Sandra Jolley, Vice Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (CIRF), was in attendance for the hearing, fearing that Brunson wouldn't get his fair attention in a Turkish courtroom.
According to a statement released by the CIRF, that's exactly what happened, with the judge dismissing every single witness who came to testify on behalf of Brunson without allowing any of them to give testimony.
“We leave the courthouse with serious concerns. Today’s eleven hours of proceedings were dominated by wild conspiracies, tortured logic, and secret witnesses, but no real evidence to speak of. Upon these rests a man’s life,” Jolley said, who described the judge's decision not to allow any of the witnesses called by Brunson's defense to testify on his behalf as "simply unconscionable".
This would prompt the Trump Administration to ramp up the rhetoric in demanding Pastor Brunson's release immediately on a world stage, beginning with Vice President Mike Pence vocally criticizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the horrendous treatment of American citizens from within the walls of a Turkish cell.
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During his heavy critique of Erdoğan, Vice President said in July of 2018 that if Pastor Brunson were not released, the United States of America would seek out heavy sanctions against the country of Turkey for their imprisonment and refusal to release an American held without merit.
Turkey didn't follow the commands of the Vice President, nor did it budge on its desire to hold Brunson from the rightful return to his family as a free man.
The truth is, however, that there is no <i>freedom</i> in Turkey, and any who stand before Erdoğan with criticism would be banished from the public eye and taken into custody through deceptive measures in the midst of night, and tossed into a dark cell away from the ears of the people of Turkey without proper representation.
That's not freedom, albeit it's certainly not civil or just, but a clear depiction of what happens when you criticize the supreme leader of the Islamic nation of Turkey and decide to do so publicly.
The charges against Brunson were later amended, amidst pressures from the United States of America's Department of Treasury, who in August of 2018 kept Vice President Mike Pence’s promises of imposed sanctions on Turkey, and retaliated against Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu; each of whom were involved in the wrongful detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.
According to<a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2017/05/andrew_brunson_the_american_pastor_caught_in_erdogan_s_crackdown.html"> Slate</a>, "The case against Brunson is reportedly based on the testimony of an undisclosed witness, though reports vary as to what exactly the witness alleges. In one version, Brunson attended a Gülenist event. In another, he spoke positively once about relations between Christians and the movement.”
There are no grounds for a continuation of the charges against the innocent Pastor, however, Turkey is determined on keeping the Pastor behind bars to send a message to the West, and to be used as a political bargaining chip.
“We were completely shocked,” Brunson’s sister, Beth Herman, said of the detainment of Andrew. “He’s lived there peacefully all these years and we just didn’t see this coming.”
As because of the inactions of Turkey to free Brunson, President Trump has this week ramped up rhetoric himself to demand such freedom occur for the American held captive by a radical foreign regime.
"They should have given him back a long time ago, and Turkey has, in my opinion, acted very, very badly," Trump told reporters at the White House. "So, we haven't seen the last of that. We are not going to take it sitting down. They can't take our people."
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Pastor Brunson now has a fighter in his corner, and while the US mainstream media, for the most part, ignore this case, we realize at The Goldwater that such a cause is worth fighting for.
If the media were forced to focus on the Pastor Brunson imprisonment, they would be forced to acknowledge that the Democratic Party under Barack Obama's White House completely ignored this wrongful arrest of an American abroad, and instead focused on satisfying brutal regime leaders such as that of Erdoğan.
Pastor Brunson deserves freedom, just as does every oppressed innocent who has committed no crime against the nation of Turkey but has faced hardship through captivity simply because of Erdoğan’s paranoia.
President Trump has taken a different tone, with his White House standing front and center on the face of monstrosities and stating them down unafraid, as we're certain he will continue to do here until Andrew Brunson is brought home.
Former Turkish envoy to Washington, DC, Osman Faruk Logoglu, believes that President Trump will impose additional sanctions on Turkey to guaranteed a secured and non-hostile release of Andrew Brunson, and he expects those to come very soon after the President of the United States of America took to the world stage to further elevate pressure on Erdoğan.
There will be additional sanctions, not just rhetorical threats,” Osman Faruk Logoglu said. “They have invested a lot of pressure into the release of Brunson, given the importance of the midterm elections in the US President Donald Trump wants to control Congress.”
Osman Faruk Logoglu, who is now the leader of an Ankara-based think tank, the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies, says that Brunson’s case will infuriate Christians on America, and he's right.
“Many key figures, like Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are evangelical Christians. They represent at least 25 million votes,” the former diplomat says. “So the Brunson case is important not just as a US-Turkey issue but also in terms of its impact on US domestic politics.”
While President Trump is a man of faith and compassion, there is no doubt a heavy-handed electoral victory for midterms if he can tout the successful release of Brunson to the midterm Republican base and Christians across the nation.
Being that support for this President is at an all-time high, taking on the global social issue of the persecution of Christians is a major task, but one that the American people will fervently support.
Many have suggested that the age of near-Tribulation, on a biblical scale, would occur when such persecution of Christians globally was at an all-time high, as it is today, with very few politicians willing to fight for those of traditional values.
President Trump isn't your common politician, and he understands the importance of protecting our own citizens no matter where they may travel or migrate into abroad, as America's are guaranteed prosperity through our culture and propose to the future citizens of this nation.
There are also ongoing disputes between Washington and Ankara, Turkey, including a bill, recently passed which would delay the shipment of new F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, which prompted Turkey to respond by purchasing Russian S-400 air defense missile systems to counter the American sanctions.
Utilizing these trade tools is something of an art form in which this President has mastered, even once penning the book, “The Art Of The Deal,” and we no doubt expect to see him bring these capabilities to the negotiation table when working out a release for Brunson.
Despite everything the 45th President of the United States of America has on his agenda, with threats both abroad and domestic, and crucial trade negotiations with nearly 200 nations underway; <i>he's still finding the time to fight for the release of an innocent Pastor Brunson</i>, which regardless if you love or hate the Trump Administration, you must at minimal give him praise for, albeit I expect the Democratic Party’s elite to still find some way to complain.
This bravery and this strong resolve from our nation's leader is one that must be respected and given thanks to because President Trump cares about the small man, and every American, as he's proving with Brunson.
Here's to say a prayer of good faith that our President can restore the broken relations with Turkey enough to secure a release of Pastor Brunson so that his three children and wife can have the man they love back in their life.
Thank you, President Trump, and Godspeed sir as you fight for Andrew Brunson.
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