4 things under-reported in the evening news regarding Pastor Brunson, Turkey, and Trump

Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife pray for President Trump

US pastor freed from Turkey prays with Trump in Oval Office

A 14 October 2018 Associated Press article shares how Pastor Andrew Brunson prayed with President Trump in the White House after the pastor was released from his 2-year unjust incarceration in Turkey.

Freed American pastor Andrew Brunson fell to one knee in the Oval Office and placed his hand on President Donald Trump’s shoulder in prayer before asking God to provide Trump “supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him.”

Trump welcomed Brunson to the White House on Saturday to celebrate Brunson’s release from nearly two years of confinement in Turkey, which had sparked a diplomatic row with a key ally and outcry from U.S. evangelical groups. Brunson returned to the U.S. aboard a military jet shortly before meeting the president. He was detained in October 2016, formally arrested that December and placed under house arrest on July 25 for health reasons.

“From a Turkish prison to the White House in 24 hours, that’s not bad,” Trump said.

Brunson’s homecoming amounts to a diplomatic — and possibly political — win for Trump and his evangelical base. Coming on the heels of the confirmation of a conservative justice to the Supreme Court, Brunson’s return is likely to leave evangelical Christians feeling good about the president and motivated get to the polls in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

(Read more at the Associated Press)

Thank God that Pastor Brunson has returned to the USA. While the pastor was held in one of the most repressive Turkish prisons, there were questions as to whether he would ever come out alive. When he was moved to house arrest, there was question of how many years this might drag out. So, when he was released, the relief felt by many groups was great.

No matter what, we have to thank God for the release of Pastor Brunson, President Trump for his tireless efforts that worked toward the same end, and all of the people behind the scenes who helped it happen.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15 NASB)


Trump's tariff plan

Trump’s tariffs against Turkey were instituted to help free Pastor Brunson

As shown by a 10 August 2018 CNBC article, the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration against Turkey were meant to cause enough pain for Turkish president that he might release Pastor Brunson.

President Donald Trump’s move Friday to double metals tariffs on Turkey is only his latest jab against the NATO ally that stems from disagreements over defense policy and the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Trump came into office seeking better relations with Turkey. But as Trump announced his plans to hike tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum to 50 percent and 20 percent, respectively, he acknowledged that “our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”

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In a tweet Friday, the president said he would levy tariffs as “their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!” The already-reeling currency plunged even more Friday, dropping 20 percent after Trump’s tweet.

The White House later tried to clarify Trump’s tweet, saying in a statement that he “authorized the preparation of documents to raise tariffs” on metals imports from Turkey.

(Read more at CNBC)

Admittedly, some of the “disagreements over defense policy” centered on allegations that Turkey profited from ISIS oil deals. Still, a large factor in the decision to step up the isolation of Turkey was the unwarranted detention of Pastor Brunson.

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NASB)

Turkey's Lira collapses under Trump tariffs

Trump’s tariffs against Turkey had a major effect on the nation

As Politico pointed out in a 10 August 2018 article, Turkey suffered currency collapse and industry issues resulting from the tariffs imposed due to the unjust imprisonment of an American pastor, support supplied to ISIS, and warming relations with Russia.

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he is doubling tariffs on Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked citizens to convert foreign currencies, including U.S. dollars, into local lira — leading to a dramatic drop in the Turkish currency.

“I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!” Trump tweeted.

The lira is at an all-time low against the dollar, according to CNBC. The lira has been dropping for the past several days, which Erdoğan has said is a “campaign” against Turkey, according to the Associated Press.

White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement that the new actions are Section 232 tariffs, which are “imposed on imports from particular countries whose exports threaten to impair national security.”

Trump’s announcement of steeper tariffs is his administration’s latest hit against Turkey.

The president on Aug. 1 issued sanctions against the longtime NATO ally after Turkey continued to detain American pastor Andrew Brunson. Trump warned Erdoğan in July to release the pastor or they would suffer sanctions.

Brunson was arrested in October 2016 by Turkey’s government on charges of aiding a terrorist organization and for espionage. The U.S. and Turkish officials met this week to discuss Brunson’s release, but a resolution was not reached.

(Read more at Politico)

Since Politico and Trump currently stand at polar opposite ends of the political spectrum, we can all assume that Politico published this to point out the suffering of Turkish people and not to help Trump. Nonetheless, since Trump secured the release of Pastor Brunson and President Erdoğan followed the release with hopes that “the United States and Turkey will continue their cooperation as the allies that they are, and fight together against terrorist groups,” we have to assume that not only has Trump’s goal of freeing a pastor (imprisoned during the Obama years) has succeeded, but also that Trump’s diplomacy efforts still advance.

Turkey's Christians find themselves under seige

Turkey has cracked down on Christians

The United Kingdom’s Express produced a 22 April 2016 article on Christian persecution in Turkey at about the same time that Pastor Brunson was first arrested. In that almost prescient 2016 article, the author notes how the government has run roughshod over Christians.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken control of six churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir in his latest move to squash freedom of speech and religious movement. 

The state-sanctioned seizure is just the latest in a number of worrying developments to come out of increasingly hardline Turkey, which is in advanced talks with the EU over visa-free travel for its 80 million citizens.

Included in the seizures are Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches, one of which is over 1,700 years old.

They have now effectively become state property – meaning they are run by the government – in a country with a dire human rights record where about 98 percent of the population is Muslim.

The order to seize the churches was made on March 25 by Erdogan’s council of ministers, according to the website World Watch Monitor.

They claim it was made on the grounds that authorities intend to rebuild and restore the historical centre of the city, which has been partially destroyed by 10 months of urban conflict between government forces and militants from the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). 

(Read more at the Express)

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