Skip to comments.Is Andrew Brunson's Release More Important Than Alliance With Turkey?
Posted on 08/21/2018 10:00:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
American evangelicals and human rights advocates are encouraging the United States to pressure Turkey to release American missionary Andrew Brunson, who faces ridiculous allegations of complicity in Kurdish terrorism.
Are they right to do so, even if the price is estrangement with a key NATO member and harm to US regional interests? How should Christians in their political witness balance Christian causes versus the wider national good?
The president, vice president and secretary of state have all denounced Turkey's imprisonment of Brunson. Economic sanctions have been levied against Turkish products, and personal sanctions have targeted two Turkish officials. Congress has acted to prevent the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.
Evangelical support for Republicans reputedly explains US actions on Brunson, who belongs to a small evangelical denomination. But congressional votes were strongly bipartisan, with Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat from New Hampshire who met with Brunson in Turkey, playing a leading role.
Brunson as a pastor and missionary justifiably generates evangelical advocacy. But he is of course a US citizen. Turkey has detained other US persons under dubious circumstances since the 2016 failed military coup. Erdogan's despotism has accelerated as he's exploited the coup to arrest tens of thousands. For Americans, Christian or otherwise, Brunson is an especially sympathetic arrestee as a non-political clergy and family man with a very small congregation and over two decades of devoted ministry in Turkey.
The multifaceted allegations against Brunson of complicity with terrorism, coup plotting, and collaboration with Erdogan's favorite bête noir are sweepingly absurd. From his Pennsylvania exile, Sufi mystic Fethullah Gülen is the Turkish strongman's nearly universal explanation for all opposition. Erdogan's suggestion that Brunson could be exchanged for Gülen recalls another sinister proposal.
Backed by their new Islamist regime, Iranian hostage takers who occupied the US embassy in 1979 offered their captive American diplomats in exchange for the exiled shah. American law, honor, and decency forbade such a bargain, as they similarly would today.
Iran's regime of mullahs was and remains unequivocally an enemy. Turkey, even under Erdogan, is ostensibly a NATO ally. The Brunson dispute may contribute to the unraveling of Turkey's 70-year alliance with America. Given its strategic importance, is the loss worth it? And should Brunson's advocates, Christian or otherwise, adamantly push ahead despite this risk?
There may not be any choice. America is America, and ignoring or minimizing the outage of such hostage taking, whose Christian victim has already offered public forgiveness in court to his tormentors, contravenes our core national identity.
Yet American denunciations and sanctions, however justified, may only provoke Erdogan into doubling down. As with most despots, exploiting anti-US sentiment is central to his demagoguery. And Turkey's very small Christian community, particularly its tiny subset of Protestants and evangelicals, could suffer by association.
Even if Turkey releases Brunson, as surely it will do eventually, US-Turkey relations may not fully recover. Erdogan has threatened to shift to "new alliances" (i.e., with China or Russia), although Russia is Turkey's historical nemesis. Imagining himself an heir to the sultans, Erdogan has subverted Turkish democracy and panders to his nation's worst instincts. He will continue so long as Turkey allows him.
American-wide resolve against Erdogan's hostage ploy is unsurprising. Nor is evangelical advocacy for Brunson. Nor is silence from the usual quarters typically indifferent both to American honor and global persecution of Christians. (A word search for "Brunson" finds no mention at Christian, social justice focused Sojournerseven after two years, and there is nothing in liberal Protestant Christian Century in a year. But there are many ongoing mentions in evangelical Christianity Today and World.)
With sophistication and discernment, Christian political witness should not automatically conflate Christian interests with American interests. The two overlap in the Brunson case as American character, which is intrinsic to America's lofty understanding of national purpose, precludes indifference.
But such high-minded notions of national character, pursued in place of more traditional interests, often have a cost. Bearing that cost is part of the price and privilege of being American.
Turkey is no ally.
They pretend to be one to get advantage on the infidels.
For this right now - YES!
“Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!”
Continuing to hold Pastor Brunson is obviously much more important to Turkey and Erdogan than any alliance with the US.
Start helping the Yazidi Kurds to form their own separate nation carved from Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. I know, the US should not be into nation-building, but that is a prohibition that should be applied much more so for Sharia-compliant Muslim regions.
We have an alliance with Turkey?
We sure give up a lot to 1) keep the fiction of NATO alive, and 2) pretend we have Russia bounded on all sides.
Meanwhile, Turkey cuts its own deals with Iran, Syria and Russia. Attacks the Kurds, does business with ISIS, and tries to undermine the Saudis. In other words, business as usual in the mideast - but please don’t call it an “alliance.”
Turkey was a strategic partner important enough to force a NATO membership despite that country's complete lack of proximity to the North Atlantic. That was when the Soviet Union wanted access from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean - Erdogan is now dealing with the Russians with regard to the natural gas pipeline that promises to make Turkey rich and naval access is no longer that much of an issue. It's a different world from the Cold War one and the Turks are acting accordingly. So should we.
What was he doing there? Shouldn’t have been there. I don’t want moslems....or any other religion... knocking on my door proselytizing.
RE: I dont want moslems....or any other religion... knocking on my door proselytizing.
Yes, but are you going to want the government to arrest them and put them in jail for 2 years for doing so?
Just tell them to go away. Dont have to lock them up.
RE: What was he doing there? Shouldnt have been there.
Obeying the gospel to “Make disciples of all nations” as Jesus Christ tells him to do. He is fluent in Turkish and has established several churches since he went there in the 1990’s.
He has been in Turkey for 23 YEARS, LONG before Erdogan came into power and had the freedom to evangelize before this dictator appeared.
“Is Andrew Brunson’s Release More Important Than Alliance With Turkey?”
Sometimes Christians really piss me off. This question is an example of why because the real problem here is that Turkey is holding an American hostage as a bargaining chip so they can try to force us to give them an opponent of their dictator. Then they’ll murder the opponent and maybe they might release Pastor Brunson.
So Turkey made the decision that holding an American hostage is more important than their alliance with the USA.
There fixed the title of the article for you.
What a steaming pantload. As a Christian, this moron thinks you should be willing to sacrifice another Christian for the sake of good relations with Turkey, because they’re a NATO member?
He has it ass backwards. If that relationship is so important, Turkey needs to worry about pleasing US.
Please show me exactly WHAT Turkey has done for US interests. What a twisted viewpoint.
Turkey is not an ally. Quite the contrary
Lets ask the Armenians.
The ones that are still alive.
During the recent Iraq War, Turkey did not allow American Forces the use of its air & sea ports and did not allow passage of American troops through, to Iraq.
Turkey is a bad actor. That they are holding Pastor Brunson is just a symptom of the larger whole. And it shows that they have no intention of being allies. Shouldn’t be in NATO. Shouldn’t have an air field there. Should not be friends.
A country that holds your citizens is no ally.
Turkey Rejects U.S. Troop Deployment
Parliament votes against granting access to combat forces. The strategy of advancing on Baghdad from the north suffers a major blow.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.