American Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, center, waves as he leaves a prison outside Izmir, Turkey, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Brunson who had been jailed in Turkey for more than 1 ½ years on terror and espionage charges was released Wednesday and will be put under house arrest as his trial continues. Pastor Brunson was let out of jail to serve home detention because of “health problems,” Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency said.(DHA via AP)


In the aftermath of the abortive 2016 coup in Turkey, American citizen and Evangelical pastor to the Izmir Resurrection Church, Andrew Brunson was swept up and jailed. He was initially accused of working with the PKK, working with American intelligence, and trying to overthrow the Islamist dictatorship of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. What gives the game away is that Brunson’s indictment accuses him of attacking Turkey’s unity by “Christianization.” Initially, his wife was also arrested. She was held in jail for nearly two weeks before being expelled from Turkey. The strategy of the Erdogan regime seems to be to hold Brunson as hostage until the US extradites a Turkish preacher, Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdogan blames for everything from crop failure to boils on the ass. In particular, he blames him for the 2016 coup attempt.

Ever since it came into office, the Trump administration has been pressing for his release. The issue was finally escalated to President Trump’s Twitter timeline last week:

Brunson remained imprisoned until yesterday when he was abruptly released to house arrest. Not long after he received a phone call:

And just about an hour ago, this happened:

The Turkish lira didn’t look great before this announcement:

I can’t imagine this helped it any.

Despite Turkey’s status as a NATO ally, more and more people are beginning to see it for what it is. A year ago, Erdogan’s security detail was involved in beating Turkish dissidents in Washington, DC. Turkey has been a prime mover in creating the refugee crisis in Europe and has essentially called for an Islamic colonization of Europe. Turkey is considering buying Russian surface-to-air missile systems and earlier this week Congress blocked the sale of F-35 strike aircraft to Turkey. In Syria, Turkey seems more interested in the ethnic cleansing of Kurdish territory and resettling it with more pliable people than it does in confronting ISIS.

On the whole, Erdogan’s Turkey has revealed itself to be a bad actor in the region and a dodgy ally. At some point, NATO needs to consider whether retaining Turkey as a NATO member is worth the stench that comes with it.

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