July 26, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel. (202) 775-1918

IDC, HALC and ANCA Welcome Vice-President Pence’s Announcement of U.S. Sanctions Against Turkey

WASHINGTON, DC — The Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), In Defense of Christians (IDC) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) issued the following statement welcoming Vice-President Pence’s announcement of “signficant sanctions” against Turkey until the release of North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson.

“We welcome Vice President Pence’s announcement this morning, at the International Religious Freedom Ministerial, that the United States will impose sanctions on Turkey until falsely charged Pastor Andrew Brunson is free.

This stand represents a first meaningful step toward ending a century of U.S. appeasement of Ankara – on issues ranging from freedom of religion and the crushing of domestic dissent to its military occupation of Cyprus, denial of the Armenian Genocide, attempts to undermine Israel, and brutal attacks on the Kurds.

We encourage the White House to stop the reckless sale of F-35s to Erdogan’s undemocratic and increasingly anti-American regime, and urge the Departments of State and Defense to suspend new bilateral cooperation until they have conducted a joint review of the current state of the U.S.-Turkey relationship and the future prospects for Turkey’s continued membership in NATO.”

Pastor Brunson, who has lived and ministered in Turkey for over 20 years, was arrested and jailed for over 600 days on baseless charges. Facing U.S. White House and Senate pressure, on July 25th the Erdogan regime remanded the pastor to house arrest in Turkey. The U.S. has called for his immediate release and return to the United States.

The Vice-President made the announcement at the Ministerial for Religious Freedom on July 26th.  Video of the announcement is available below.