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US Senator: I’d Not Recommend Going to Turkey for Business

“I would say as an American businessman, right now I would not recommend going to Turkey for business,” a U.S. senator said, pointing to the lack of rule of law in Turkey during the emergency rule.

U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) one of the pioneers of a draft bill to block the sale of the F-35s to Turkey, expressed dismay over the ongoing imprisonment of U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey.

He lamented the arbitrary nature of arrests and called for caution before any business investment in Turkey.

“We have Americans picked up, swept up, put in false charges, put into prison. I could not explain to one of my employees in the days ahead to their families why an employee in Turkey has been swept up,” he told MSNBC News.

He added: “Since it has been a good place for business, Turkey has changed over the last two years. We need to pay attention to that and not try to increase business and investment there until we know who in Turkey is gonna be and we know Americans can be safe.”

Lankford, along with Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), talked to Morning Joe about relations with Turkey.

Shaheen said Pastor Brunson was simply being held hostage by President Erdogan.

“Erdogan has been so boldest to say: I’ll trade your pastor for my pastor, meaning Fethullah Gulen,” she said. 

“Pastor Brunson is a missionary in Turkey. He’s been there for 23 years, practicing his faith and his church. He has done nothing wrong. This is a blatant attempt to blackmail the United States,” she added.

During the televised interview, Senator Lankford said he wants Turkey to act more like North Korea, which recently released three jailed American citizens.

“I think it is a very odd thing to say for a NATO ally,” he said.

Lankford also slammed the trial process. “You should see the transcripts of the actual trial itself. They are bringing secret witnesses from prison saying: Someone else in my prison, I heard says something about Pastor Brunson,” he said, questioning the integrity of the witnesses who claimed that Brunson aimed to create a Christian Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey.

The case of Brunson brought together a bipartisan group of U.S. senators to introduce a draft bill envisaging to block the delivery of F-35s to Turkey.

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