Turkey (MNN) — Last Monday, American Pastor Andrew Brunson endured his second hearing in Turkey for 10 hours. But now, once again, his case has been postponed. Brunson’s next court hearing is scheduled for July 18th.
Miles Windsor with Middle East Concern says, “According to some of those who were present, both Andrew and his lawyer were very articulate in their defense and clearly demonstrated that the allegations against him are false and that his continued detention can only really be considered political in its motivations.”
Brunson was arrested over a year and a half ago as part of the crackdown in Turkey following a failed coup attempt. For a long time, Brunson was not given any formal charges and no chance for bail. But eventually, he was charged with terrorism and espionage in collaboration with followers of Fethullah Gulen.
“President Erdogan has on a number of occasions clearly mentioned that he is interested in a swap of Andrew Brunson with the Islamic cleric who is currently in the US, Fethullah Gulen, who President Erdogan suggests is the figure at the heart of the coup attempt that happened in Turkey some years ago.”
The so-called evidence against Brunson rests largely on secret witnesses. International figures and US politicians have called out the absurdity of Brunson’s imprisonment and demanded his release.
“Firstly, it’s wholly inappropriate for Turkey to be making such suggestions and it does imply that this is a hostage situation. But also I don’t believe that international law will allow for such a swap to happen. I think that the US State Department has made that clear.”
Unfortunately, Windsor says, “President Erdogan doesn’t seem to be the sort of president who heeds pressure or heeds advice when it comes to the human rights situation in Turkey. He seems to respond quite aggressively to criticism of this sort. But we are continuing to encourage international actors and influencers to engage with this in thoughtful, careful, diplomatic ways. So we anticipate the pressure will continue.”
While this process is understandably heartbreaking for the Brunsons, the support of fellow believers and political leaders is uplifting to Andrew Brunson and his family.
“We’re pleased that Andrew is encouraged by those who were attending and present at the hearing and also by the fact that he is articulately making a case for the injustice of the situation,” Windsor shares.
“We ask for prayer, that the Lord will continue to strengthen Andrew and that he and his family, his wife Norine and the rest of the family, will know God’s peace and presence. Also, we would value prayer that the Turkish court would uphold justice and reject the allegations of Andrew’s involvement in outlawed terrorist or political groups, that the president of Turkey would not abuse Andrew’s rights by using him as leverage against the United States.”