Opposition Lawmaker Claims Brunson May Be Released on October 12
The deputy chairman of Turkish main opposition party, Muharrem Erkek, claimed that American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been under house arrest and at the center of a heated debate between Turkey and the U.S., may be released pending trial after his October 12 hearing.
Brunson is facing up to 35 years’ imprisonment on charges of “espionage” and “terrorism”.
Speaking to the media, Turkish Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Erkek, called the Brunson trial a “tragedy”, asserting that the judiciary was acting at the behest of government orders.
Erkek cited the trial of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who was released in February following German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plea, and French reporter Loup Bureau‘s release upon a visit from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Drian.
The lawmaker asked “Why were they arrested? Were they arrested unfairly? If not, why does the judiciary acts on orders?”
“After seeing these [examples], Trump naturally wants his own citizens released,” Erkek continued.
Prosecutors accuse the pastor of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and FETO, a named coined by the Turkish government in reference to the Gulen movement, which it blames for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt targeting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Brunson was placed under pre-trial detention on December 9, 2016 in Turkey and he was moved to house arrest on July 25, 2018 on the grounds of ill health. The decision came amid tension between Turkey and the U.S., which demands immediate release of Brunson.
The evangelical missionary’s case led to an economic crisis in Turkey, after Donald J. Trump doubled tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Turkey and imposed sanctions on U.S. assets of the country’s ministers of justice and interior.