Tags: lankford | shaheen | american | pastor | turkey

Lankford, Shaheen Target Turkey for Imprisoning Pastor

Lankford, Shaheen Target Turkey for Imprisoning Pastor
Sen. James Lankford (Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 24 May 2018 10:22 AM

Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., vowed to continue to go after Turkey in an effort to obtain the release of imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The two senators, who are fighting to block the sale of American fighter jets to Turkey until he is released, made their comments on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Thursday.

Brunson is a native of North Carolina, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years. He has been behind bars in Turkey since October 2016. Brunson was among tens of thousands of people swept up in the aftermath of a coup attempt.

"He's been there for 23 years practicing his faith," Shaheen said. "He has done nothing wrong, this is a blatant attempt to blackmail the United States. And we're not going to stand for it.

"That's why Sen. Lankford and Sen. (Thom) Tillis, who has also worked closely with us. are doing everything we can to send a very strong message to Turkey that this is not acceptable. This is our NATO ally, they're supposed to be on our side."

Lankford noted North's Korea's recent release of three detainees to the U.S.

"I said on the Senate floor last week I thought I would never say I want Turkey to act more like North Korea and actually release our hostages. That seems like an odd thing to say to a NATO ally."

And he called the legal proceedings against Brunson a "kangaroo court."

"There's no eyewitness testimony, there's no actual facts here and all of the people that pastor Brunson has asked to be able to bring as witnesses, the court is saying those individuals are suspects as well and so we won't allow anyone to testify on your behalf," he said.

"So, this is a completely invented kangaroo court that's there to try to prove some sort of point against the United States and, again, they've held him since October of 2016."

Lankford noted they are trying to put as much pressure on Turkey as they can to release Brunson.

"We are trying to cut off military sales to them and continue to put on American pressure," he said.

And he said he hoped the U.S. will put pressure on those people trying to "falsely" convict Brunson.

"It is unacceptable what they are doing," he said.

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Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., vowed to continue to go after Turkey in an effort to obtain the release of imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson.
lankford, shaheen, american, pastor, turkey
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2018-22-24
Thursday, 24 May 2018 10:22 AM
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