U.S. must demand release of all prisoners, not just Brunson – analysts

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu
23rd August 2018 - Quoted by Ahval

The United States has taken a firm stance against Turkey in demanding the release of Andrew Brunson, the U.S. pastor detained in Turkey since Oct. 2016.

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But by focussing only on the pastor, the Trump administration risks leaving behind the other U.S. citizens and employees imprisoned in Turkey and could weaken its position against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other authoritarian leaders in the future, analysts Aykan Erdemir and Merve Tahiroğlu wrote in an article for security analysis site War on the Rocks.

“Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have incessantly invoked Turkey’s treatment of the pastor, notably when announcing the punitive measures,” and Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, said the crisis between the countries would end instantly if Brunson was released, the analysts said.

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“It is clear that Ankara’s newfound hostage diplomacy targets not only Christian faith leaders, but American citizens and staff more broadly. If Washington only stands up for the pastor, Erdogan will draw the lesson that he can persecute others with impunity,” Erdemir and Tahiroğlu. 

“When pushing back against Erdogan, the United States should clearly state the Turkish strongman’s offense, which is not the detention of a single pastor but, rather, the systematic targeting of U.S. persons in the service of an ill-devised strategy of hostage diplomacy.”

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Read the full article here.

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