DIPLOMACY >Give us Gülen if you want arrested pastor Andrew Brunson to be freed: Erdoğan tells US


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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the United States to exchange Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen with Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been in jail in Turkey since October 2016.  

“We have given you all the documents necessary [for the extradition of Gülen]. But they say, ‘give us the pastor.’ You have another pastor in your hands. Give us that pastor and we will do what we can in the judiciary to give you this one,” Erdoğan said on Sept. 28.

Brunson was taken into custody on Oct. 7, 2016 on suspicion of “being a threat to national security,” while Gülen is said to be the mastermind of the July 2016 coup attempt.

Erdoğan did not detail when or to whom he made this proposal. His last meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump took place on Sept. 21 in New York. 

Brunson was sent to the immigration authority for deportation with his wife Norine Lyn Brunson following his detention on Oct. 7, but he was arrested after the release of his wife.

It was reported in May 2017 that Trump expressed Washington’s demand for the release of Brunson.

“They say, ‘don’t get involved with him.’ How come? You say you have a judiciary, do you think we don’t? Anyway, the one that we have [in our hands] is being tried, the one you have [in your hands] is not being tried. It is easier for you to give,” Erdoğan said.


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