“When I read the newspapers, I sometimes feel frustrated like they’re only trying to save Pastor Andrew Brunson, but not us.”
These words reportedly uttered by Kubra Gölge, the wife of Serkan Gölge, a 37-year-old physicist and research scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Mr Gölge who holds American citizenship, was jailed in February to 7 years and 6 months in Turkey on coup charges,
Speaking to NBC news on July 30, Kübra says she feels like the U.S. government “is paying less attention” to her husband’s case.
Under arrest for 17 months, husband Golge was, on Feb 8, convicted of membership to the Gulen movement, a terror organization in the eyes of Turkish government.
Golge’s lawyers earlier told media that Turkish police had asked the scientist, during the detention, to serve as a Turkish agent in the US.
“They asked my client during all six interrogations to tell them what he knew, and my client said he didn’t know anything. Then they told him ‘Work for us’,” said the lawyer.
“I feel frustrated, [Brunson’s] not the only guy whose life went down,” Kubra Golge said. “We are also American citizens.”
President Donald Trump has recently announced that the United States will impose sanctions on Turkey if the pastor Brunson, who was put under house arrest by a Turkish court after two years in pre-trial detention, is not fully released “immediately.”
“The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being. He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!” Mr Trump tweeted.
Turkish prosecutors accuse Brunson of activities on behalf of the PKK as well as the Gülen group inspired by US-based preacher Fethullah Gülen, accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating a July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.
The group denies any involvement in the putsch.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said a “secret witness” — described as a former parishioner codenamed “Serhat” — testified via a long-distance system and claimed that Brunson helped Kurdish militants, including those fighting in Syria, in various ways. He also claimed that a Syrian who converted to Christianity had helped Brunson.
Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for decades, strongly rejected the claims.
“These accusations are shameful and disgusting. There is not one photograph or tape recording praising the PKK at the [Izmir] Resurrection Church. Our church had several Turkish followers. Our doors were open to everyone. I strived to prevent politics from entering the church,” Anadolu quoted Brunson as saying.
The indictment against him — based on the testimony of witnesses, including three secret ones, and digital evidence — claims the pastor worked to convert Kurds to Christianity to sow discord in Turkey.
Brunson, who has lived and worked in Turkey for over two decades, is also accused of espionage for political or military purposes.
He denied all the charges leveled against him during the first hearing last month and from time to time broke down in tears.
“I haven’t done anything against Turkey. On the contrary I love Turkey. I have been praying for Turkey for 25 years,” he told the judge.
The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being. He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2018