The United States has urged Turkey to release an American clergyman under threat of sanctions. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in Washington, if pastor Andrew Craig Brunson did not immediately get away, United States would impose "substantial punitive measures" against Turkey.
The pastor threatens up to 15 years in prison for committing crimes in name of terrorist groups and anor 20 years for espionage.
"Brunson is an innocent man, re is no credible evidence against him," said Pence. The pastor was discharged from custody on Wednesday after more than one and a half years for health reasons. He's still under house arrest. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that this move was "not sufficient".
US president Donald Trump has also announced "great sanctions" against Turkey because of detention of an American clergyman. Pastor Brunson was "a great Christian, a family man and wonderful man," tweeted Trump. "This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!"
Only a week ago, a request for dismissal of Brunson had failed. Trump n explained via Twitter that clergyman was held hostage for far too long; That's a shame. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should do something to "free this wonderful Christian husband and far". Previously, Erdoğan had proposed to exchange Brunson against US-living preacher Fethullah Gülen. The Turkish president makes Gülen responsible for failed coup attempt in summer of 2016.
In concrete terms, American is accused of links with banned Kurdish Workers ' Party PKK and Gülen movement. Brunson wrote in a letter that he was not arrested for crimes, but "because I am who I am-a Christian pastor".
The next trial is scheduled for October 12th.Updated Date: 27 July 2018, 12:02