Brunson denied all links with Kurdish insurgents
Andrew Brunson, the U.S. pastor released from confinement in Turkey after two years, said it is highly probable that he is now a hate figure in that country. The 50-year-old evangelist was jailed on espionage charges. In his interview with CBS This Morning on October 16, he laid bare the tough conditions suffered by him in prison and the occasional solitary supplement. He claimed to have engaged in prayer to keep his mind together. The pastor said he was held in solitary during those days of his captivity and it was a difficult phase for him.
The Turkish Government then moved him into a jail cell. The small room was inhabited by 19 other inmates. Conditions were horrendous as space was designed to house only eight. Brunson claimed he felt isolated, not only by language and culture but also by religion. According to the pastor, he moved to Turkey with his wife in 1993. The move came naturally to him as his parents were pastors themselves. He was given charge of a small church in Izmir, a small coastal city in Turkey.
Problems besieged him after the present Erdogan government survived a failed coup which tried to take over the country in 2016. For reasons unknown to Brunson, his name came up in an investigation into Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric now based in the United States and who was believed to be the prime force during the uprising. The American continues to deny charges that he was a spy but told the interviewer that these charges made him one of the most hated persons in Turkey. He said that many Turks despised him as they thought he supported Kurdish terrorists.
Brunson is not the only American arrested in Turkey, but his case has gained maximum attention due to his links with the U.S. evangelical community. It helped that his arrest fitted perfectly into the narrative of Christian perfection.
Worst of all, Brunson was also blamed for a downswing of the Turkish economy. It did not help that President Donald Trump imposed touch economic penalties on the nation after the latter refused to release the pastor, saying that it is the matter of the courts to decide whether he should walk free or not. The pastor said he prayed hard for his release. He said President Trump needs many prayers, and then added that every president does.