Brunson Coming Home?

As we go to press, Turkish authorities are deciding the fate of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who has been imprisoned in Turkey for two years on charges that he aided terrorist groups and supported a coup in 2016.

The White House has long demanded his release, and to force Ankara’s hand, President Trump this summer slapped sanctions on an already reeling Turkish economy, sending the lira into a tailspin. The fate of Mr. Brunson is a big issue for US evangelical voters, a critical constituency for President Trump in the upcoming midterm elections and in 2020.

Yesterday afternoon, reports emerged that the US had reached a deal under which the US would ease sanctions in exchange for Mr. Brunson’s release. Will that happen?

We’ve been close to a breakthrough before. Earlier this summer, Turkey’s headstrong President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly promised President Trump in person at the NATO summit in Brussels to release Brunson, only to renege once he got back to Ankara.

But Ankara may be more favorably disposed this time around for two reasons. First, the economic pressure on Turkey is causing real problems for Erdogan, and releasing Brunson in exchange for sanctions relief would ease outside investors’ concerns – the lira rebounded substantially on news of a deal.

And second, Turkey is keen to move the US into its corner ahead of a potentially nasty spat with Saudi Arabia, Washington’s close ally, which Ankara has accused of killing dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

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