Turkey Pushes Back Against Freeing US Pastor Brunson: 5 Things to Know

4. How Has the U.S. Responded?

US President Donald Trump prepares to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on June 12.
US President Donald Trump prepares to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on June 12. | (Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Michael Vadon)

U.S. government officials, including President Donald Trump and several congressmen, have in the past few months been ramping up the rhetoric against Turkey, demanding that Brunson be released without any exchanges.

Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday at the State Department's first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C., that its NATO ally faces "significant sanctions"  over how it has treated the pastor.

"Pastor Andrew Brunson is an innocent man. There is no credible evidence against him. Our entire administration has worked tirelessly to secure Pastor Brunson's release," Pence said.

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"Yesterday, Turkey released Pastor Brunson from prison only to place him under house arrest. This is a welcome first step but it is not good enough."

Trump also vowed that there will heavy consequences for Turkey despite transfering the pastor to house arrest.

"The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being," Trump tweeted.

"He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!"

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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