Several Christian pastors and advocacy groups have issued warnings to their congregations to avoid traveling to Turkey if pastor Andrew Brunson isn’t released, according to news reports.
“We hope pastors nationwide will join us in urging their congregations to boycott Turkey. Now is the time to stand in solidarity with this American citizen who has been unjustly treated by the Turkish government,” My Faith Votes posted on its Facebook page per the Christian Post.
“If Turkey isn’t safe for Brunson, it isn’t safe for us,” one of President Donald Trump’s informal evangelical advisers, Johnnie Moore, told NPR in a statement days after Brunson was placed under house arrest and released from prison.
Brunson is being held in Turkey on accusations of terror and espionage. The pastor, who has lived there for more than two decades, was swept up by Turkish authorities along with military officers, journalists and others in a government crackdown after a failed military coup attempt in 2016.
The Trump administration last week said it would sanction the country if it didn’t release Brunson, with Vice President Mike Pence publicly calling for his release at a State Department event on religious freedom.
“If Turkey does not take immediate action to free this innocent man of faith and send him home to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey until Pastor Andrew Brunson is free,” Pence said.