Senator Lankford Statement on Pastor Brunson’s Release from Turkish Prison

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued the following statement on the announcement that Turkey has released Pastor Andrew Brunson. Pastor Brunson was detained by Turkish officials two years ago on unjust charges of espionage.

“I am thankful that Pastor Brunson can finally return home to his family,” said Lankford. “This has been a long and difficult journey for the Brunson family. The entire country is grateful they will finally be able to start the next season of their life reunited with their children and extended family on American soil. Turkey is a long-standing US ally; we have worked to maintain our partnership over the last two years while pushing for Pastor Brunson’s release. It is difficult to understand why the process of release took two years. Turkey and the US have many areas of agreement and some areas of disagreement, but we should not move forward on any issue until every American who is wrongfully detained is released. Today’s step to return Pastor Brunson home will help mend the relationship between our two countries. I continue to pray for the Brunson family as they prepare for their father and husband to return home to them safely. Welcome home, Pastor Brunson, this has been a long and painful journey.”

Additionally, Lankford joined his colleagues, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today in a joint statement on Pastor Brunson’s release:

“We are pleased that Pastor Andrew Brunson will finally be released from Turkish custody and will return to the United States as a free man. Pastor Brunson will be reunited with his loving family, whose relentless advocacy for his release helped inspire us and many others to the cause. The President, Vice President, State Department, and Congress have been truly committed to getting Pastor Brunson home. We encourage Turkish authorities to also release the others we have been advocating for who are wrongfully detained. In the end, the Government of Turkey did the right thing, a decision that will help strengthen the longstanding friendship between our two nations, as well as the NATO alliance.”

Yesterday, Lankford joined the same group of Senators on Pastor Brunson’s pending hearing. Sunday, October 6, 2018, marked the two-year anniversary of Pastor Brunson’s imprisonment by the Turkish government.