The US government hasn't 'forgotten' about Turkey detainees

By On August 03, 2018

The US government hasn't 'forgotten' about Turkey detainees

Andrew Brunson on July 25 in Izmir, Turkey. (Emre Tazegul/AP)

“Turkey’s forgotten detainees,” the July 30 op-ed by Henri J. Barkey and former ambassador Eric Edelman regarding President Trump’s efforts to free American pastor Andrew Brunson, led readers to believe the administration is not doing enough to resolve other cases of U.S. citizens and employees wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey. Let’s set the record straight: While media attention has focused on Mr. Brunson, the U.S. government consistently has pushed â€" at the highest levels of our bilateral engagement â€" for the release of all U.S. citizens and U.S. mission employees wrongfully detained since Turkey’s state of emergency began in July 2016. State Department officials have discussed this publicly and privately. I have personally met with our local staff and the spouses of those who’ve been unjustly detained.

Under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s leadership, we have fought to get these cases resolved, and much of our work is done out of the spotlight.

Multiple U.S. citizens and three local employees of the U.S. mission in Turkey have been held without charge or access to information about the nature of the “evidence” against them. As the authors rightly pointed out, our local employees are the “backbone of U.S. diplomatic efforts abroad,” and it is imperative that the Turkish government release them, along with Mr. Brunson, NASA scientist Serkan Golge and any other U.S. citizens detained under specious charges. We continue to work on their cases with our Turkish counterparts.

A. Wess Mitchell, Washington

The writer is U.S. assistant secretary of state for Europea n and Eurasian affairs.

Source: Google News Turkey | Netizen 24 Turkey

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