Johnnie Moore joins praise for Trump's advocacy for imprisoned US pastor in Turkey

Evangelical leaders are hailing Trump's efforts to secure the release of an imprisoned American pastor in Turkey.

In a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday Trump pressed the Turkish leader on Andrew Brunson, who has been held since October on immigration violation charges after running a small church in Izmir, Turkey. His charges have since escalated to accusations of terrorism, though Turkey has produced no evidence for their claims.

ReutersUS President Donald Trump welcomed Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the entrance to the West Wing of the White House in Washington.

Johnnie Moore, evangelical author and advocate for persecuted Christians, said: 'This shows the clear and open lines of communication between evangelicals and this White House.'

He told RNS: 'Not only were we able to make the President and Vice President aware that this was a priority of ours, we were pleased that they shared our concern and acted upon it.'

It comes after the White House said Trump had pressurised Erdogan on the issue.

'President Trump raised the incarceration of Pastor Andrew Brunson and asked that the Turkish government expeditiously return him to the United States,' a statement on Tuesday read.

The American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a religious freedom advocacy group, announced on Monday it had submitted a formal statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council appealing for a quick release.

Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ joined the praiseof Trump's advocacy with president Erdoğan.

'Last week, I urged the President and the Vice President when I met with them in the White House to raise Pastor Andrew's case with Turkish leaders. Today, they did just that, raising his plight directly to President Erdoğan,' he wrote. 

'This is exactly what we asked the President to do and is a major sign of significant progress toward bringing Pastor Andrew home.'

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