Erdogan plays politics, Brunson court date looms

By September 28, 2018

Turkey (MNN) — American pastor Andrew Brunson is back in the headlines. In a recent interview with Reuters, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims limited power over Brunson’s case:

“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. 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.”

However, Erdogan’s latest statement doesn’t quite match political reality.

“Obviously it sounds right and just and fair that [the court system] should go on its way and…be independent,” says Miles Windsor of Middle East Concern. “However, the reality is that other detained foreign nationals have been released as a result of political intervention.”

Windsor points to German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel and these Greek soldiers as examples.

Andrew Brunson

Pastor Andrew Brunson (Photo courtesy of Middle East Concern)

As explained here, Brunson has been the center of a political game of “chicken” between Turkey and the U.S. for two years. Read our coverage of Brunson’s case.

Using Brunson as a political pawn probably wasn’t the original intent, Windsor says, referring to the pastor’s arrest in October 2016. Nevertheless, “I think that they [realized] rather quickly that they could use Pastor Brunson as a bargaining chip.

“President Erdogan has mentioned on a number of occasions that he viewed this as a possibility, in terms of the exchange with the Islamic cleric…who is living in the United States.”

Situations like these serve to remind us of the Lord’s control over international affairs.

“We can pray that – regardless of God’s will in this particular situation – that God would be comforting [Andrew and Noreen Brunson], would be giving them strength and encouragement,” Windsor suggests.

Pray also for the Body of Christ in Turkey. Pray that the political attack on Brunson wouldn’t become a wider attack on Christians in Turkish society.

Visit Middle East Concern’s website to understand the challenges faced by Turkish Christians.


Header image courtesy of Pixabay.

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