Last week, North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson was moved from a jail in Turkey to house arrest until his trial continues in October. Brunson has spent 23 years in Turkey raising a family and serving as an evangelical minister.
After a failed coup attempt in 2016, the Turkish government rounded up tens of thousands of people including non-diplomatic US citizens. Brunson was one of them. Held for over a year without being formally charged, the story made local headlines when Senator Thom Tillis publicly pressed for his release. Then, the story went national after a Trump tweet threatened major sanctions if he wasn’t released.
Irem Koker is a reporter with the BBC Turkish Service who has been following this story. She speaks with guest host Anita Rao on the latest developments in the Brunson case and how it may impact the once positive relationship between the US and Turkey.