Charisma Caucus

Will an 'Allied Partnership' Lead to Pastor Andrew Brunson's Release?

Hundreds of Brazilian brothers and sisters pray for pastor Andrew Brunson's release and wrote to the Turkish embassy in Brazil on his behalf. (Andrew and Norine Brunson Facebook page)

Despite recent tensions between our two countries, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu just met in Washington. Following the meeting, the two offices released a joint statement renewing the commitments of both nations to work together.

As posted on both the U.S. Department of State's website and Turkey's official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website:

"The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met on June 4 in Washington, D.C. They reaffirmed that Turkey and the United States remain committed to addressing their common concerns in a spirit of allied partnership."

The meeting between Minister Çavuşoğlu and Secretary Pompeo was primarily to discuss what is being called a "roadmap for Northern Syria."

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Minister Çavuşoğlu and Secretary Pompeo exchanged views on bilateral and regional issues. They reaffirmed their joint resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

They considered the recommendations of the Turkey-U.S. Working Group on Syria pertaining to the future of our bilateral cooperation in Syria on issues of mutual interest, to include taking steps to ensure the security and stability in Manbij. They endorsed a road map to this end and underlined their mutual commitment to its implementation, reflecting their agreement to closely follow developments on the ground.

Additionally, the statement concluded by saying the two dignitaries "also discussed Turkey-U.S. relations and agreed to hold further meetings of the working group mechanism to resolve current outstanding issues in the bilateral relationship."

We are encouraged by the statement's emphasis on a "spirit of allied partnership." Although, to date, Turkey has not demonstrated such a spirit or behaved as a true "ally." They continue to hold pastor Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen who has been wrongfully imprisoned in Tukey for more than a year and a half, currently undergoing a sham trial, facing delay after delay. However, this statement may signal a change for our client, and we certainly hope this will mark a turn for the better.

We recently told you how more than 100 European Parliamentarians have spoken out, demanding Turkey release Pastor Andrew. Seventy-five members of the European Parliament (MEPs), from 8 political groups and 20 countries, signed an open letter to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

They reminded President Erdoğan of the European Parliament resolution on the current situation of human rights in Turkey, adopted in February 2018, which "urges the Turkish Government to release pastor Andrew Brunson and to allow him to return home."

In addition, at the Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, 27 more deputies also declared that it is "urgent that Turkey respects its European commitments in putting an immediate end to this scandalous situation."

We've been determinedly presenting pastor Andrew's plight to the international community, even arranging for his daughter to stand before the U.N. Human Rights Council and ask for intervention on her father's behalf. We need the entire world to apply maximum pressure on Turkey to demand his freedom. Now it appears it might be working. But this is far from over.

The U.S. and Turkey have been allies since 1952, and our two nations need each other. However, we will not accept this mistreatment of an innocent citizen. For this relationship to continue and grow, Turkey must free pastor Andrew.

We are hopeful this statement is a positive sign, but we are not going to stop working with our government, international bodies, and before the United Nations until pastor Andrew is a free man, safely home with his family in America.

For the original article, visit aclj.org.

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