In meetings held on May 16, U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence appealed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for Andrew Brunson’s release. Brunson, an EPC teaching elder, has been imprisoned in Izmir, Turkey, since October 2016.
The EPC received reports from two different sources that both Trump and Pence advocated for Andrew’s freedom.
Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk, said that one of these individuals “told us that Mr. Pence asked him to reach out to the EPC directly. I know I speak for the Brunson family in expressing our most sincere appreciation to the President and Vice President for their efforts today.”
Jeremiah noted four items that occurred in the meetings:
- Pence met with the Turkish leader first, and pleaded that Andrew’s case be expedited and resolved as quickly as possible.
- At the lunch that followed, Trump raised Andrew’s case at both the beginning and end of lunch. His plea was very similar in language with the Vice President’s.
- After the lunch, Pence raised it a final time.
- Pence was personally engaged in this with Erdoğan, and Trump spoke knowledgeably about Andrew’s situation.
“We are all very grateful for the prayers of so many people in the days leading up to today’s events,” Jeremiah added. “Please keep praying in the aftermath of this meeting.”
Brunson’s situation has garnered attention from news organizations across the theological and political spectrum, including ABC News, CBS News, The Christian Post, Fox News, International Christian Concern, Jewish News Service, National Catholic Register, National Review, Presbyterian Lay Committee, Slate, Time Magazine, USA Today, World Watch Monitor, and others. Links to many of these reports are available on the EPC’s Andrew Brunson resource page at www.epc.org/forgottenamericaninturkey.