Oct 11 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) took to the Senate floor to speak on North Carolina native Andrew Brunson, who has been wrongfully imprisoned by the Turkish Government since October 7, 2016. Pastor Brunson has his next hearing scheduled for tomorrow.
Click HERE to watch the floor speech.
Tillis on Pastor Brunson:
“I'm here to talk about a man named Pastor Brunson, a North Carolina native who has been imprisoned in Turkey since October 7, 2016. He's a Presbyterian minister that in 2016 under the emergency orders in Turkey, President Erdogan ended up ordering the arrest of many people, including Pastor Brunson. The two-year anniversary was last Sunday, and I called Pastor Brunson to speak with him to see how he and his wife Norine were doing. He told me he is still worried about the very real possibility that he could get convicted up to 35 years in prison.”
Tillis on the hearing tomorrow:
“Tomorrow is what many of us believe may be the last time that he's in a courtroom. I hope that President Erdogan and their judicial system find justice for Pastor Brunson, and what that justice looks like to me, regardless of whatever conclusion the Turkish courts draw -- innocence or guilt – is they simply complete the judicial process in Turkey and return Pastor Brunson and his wife back to the United States, specifically western North Carolina.”
Tillis on support within Congress for his release:
“After I visited Pastor Brunson in a Turkish prison about six months ago, I heard that he was concerned once the indictment was issued against him that the American people would read that indictment and just forget about him. It was important to me to go to Turkey, go to that Turkish prison just outside of Izmir, Turkey, look him eye to eye, and tell him I would not forget about him. Since that meeting and after that, we have had over 70 members of the U.S. Senate on both sides of the aisle sign on to a letter to send a very clear message to Pastor Brunson that we're not going to forget him, but also send a very clear message to Turkey that there will be consequences if we have a miscarriage of justice in this case.”
Tillis on if Pastor Brunson remains imprisoned:
“If his hearing is continued again, or he's found guilty and sentenced to 35 years in prison, I'll have to take a different action. It is an action very similar to what we took putting a provision in the National Defense Authorization really questioning our long-term relationship with Turkey in terms of sharing technology with the joint strike fighter. When we went through that process, we identified a number of other measures that I believe could get strong support in the House and Senate that would take our relationship with Turkey in the wrong direction. I want Turkey to be a strong NATO ally and trading partner, and I want the Turkish people to have a vibrant economy. I sincerely hope we don’t have to go down this path, and I hope Turkey’s leaders will do the right thing and let the Brunson’s come home.”