Political stalemate holds US pastor ‘hostage’ in Turkish jail

By Barbara G. Baker | World Watch Monitor

Comments this week from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan increased speculation that Turkey has been holding jailed US pastor Andrew Brunson hostage since last October in order to extract political concessions from the United States.

Addressing the parliamentary assembly of his ruling Justice and Development Party on 30 May, Erdoğan warned that under international agreements, Turkey could retaliate against countries refusing to extradite Turkish nationals accused by Ankara of links to Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish Muslim cleric accused of plotting the failed July 2016 coup attempt to overthrow the Turkish government.

“I am calling out to the whole world. I am saying that if you don’t help us … know that if your [citizens] fall into our hands someday, you will not be able to get them back,” Erdoğan declared.