Turkey Charges American Pastor with ‘Christianization’ Crime

American Pastor Andrew Brunson has spent two years in a Turkish prison for spreading the Gospel.

The North Carolina preacher was swept up in the arrests of thousands in Turkey in October, 2016, after a coup d’état against Pres. Recep Erdogan failed to unseat him. Known for brutal aggression against his own people, Erdogan targeted military personnel, civil servants, political opponents and Christians for what has been referred to as a “purge.”

The American pastor remained in captivity during the waning days of the Obama Administration without American government support. It took upwards of a year before a Turkish court charged him with a crime. He now stands accused of “Christianization.” The allegation has been masked in the guise of terrorism and espionage. However, the case the Erdogan regime is leveling against the man of God stems from preaching the Gospel.

“There have been times I have not been happy with God’s plan in this situation,” the pastor’s daughter Jacqueline Furnari reportedly said. “I’ve really come to realize God is in complete control and He has a plan, and this is all for his glory. He is worth everything that my family has gone through.”

Her father was reportedly confined to a jail cell designed for eight, that was packed with 22 people. She reportedly says he suffers depression and anxiety but remains committed to his belief in God.

“I’ve seen that message come through in my dad’s letters as well as he started to transform and submit to God and say, ‘God, my life is yours. Whatever you do with me let it honor you, let it declare your name and your goodness to people,’” she reportedly said at a recent Values Voter Summit in Washington.

The charges against the American Christian have set off a full-blown diplomatic crisis with the Trump Administration. The president has leveled tough sanctions against Turkey and sent their economy into a tailspin. Vice Pres. Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have also taken the Erdogan regime to task over the wrongful imprisonment of the American citizen.

“We are sparing no effort to return Pastor Brunson to the United States … he has been wrongly held, and his proper place is to be able to return here to once again practice his faith in our great nation,” Secretary Pompeo reportedly said. “Know this, President Trump will never forget about our own.”

Erdogan’s refusal to release pastor Brunson has further provoked Pres. Trump’s anger.

“This is a judiciary matter. Brunson has been detained on terrorism charges … On Oct. 12 there will be another hearing and we don’t know what the court will decide, and politicians will have no say on the verdict,” Erdogan reportedly said. “As the president, I don’t have the right to order his release. Our judiciary is independent. Let’s wait and see what the court will decide.”

But contrary to this statement, Erdogan reportedly tried to trade Brunson for anti-regime activists who sought refuge in the United States. The Turkish lira has reportedly lost 40 percent of its value as a result of President Trump’s economic sanctions.

Although Pastor Brunson is receiving legal representation, there is little hope that a Turkish court would act impartially. The anti-Christian bias runs so deep under Erdogan’s rule that fairness or leniency could cause a backlash against a member of the judiciary.

“It is very hard for the Turkish judiciary to act impartially in such a politicized case,” Brunson’s lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt reportedly said. Therefore, we are prepared to take it to the relevant international judicial authority, the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights).”

The attorney has gone on the record stating that Pastor Brunson’s “right to liberty and security” as well as “right to travel” have been violated.

“Unless the Constitutional Court frees him, we will have to take the case to the ECHR as the domestic legal remedies we can seek will be exhausted,” he reportedly said.

Turkey is one of 47 countries that signed on to the European Convention on Human Rights and its rulings are binding on the signatories. There is hope that the American pastor will be released as a result of international pressure by Pres. Trump and the likelihood a Turkish court’s ruling would be voided by the ECHR.

Pastor Brunson faces a maximum of 35 years in prison for “Christianization” and the Trump Administration has already gone on record saying that sanctions and pressure will only increase until he is released.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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