Mr. Speaker, our supposed Turkish allies are holding Americans hostage. At least two Americans, Andrew Brunson and Serkan Golge, are being held by the Turkish regime on false charges. 

Dictator Erdogan, an Islamist who has arrested thousands of Turks who oppose him, believes that he can use imprisoned Americans as bargaining chips. He hopes that he can trade American hostages for political opponents who fled Turkey’s dictatorship. 

Even if the individuals Erdogan wanted had clearly committed crimes, which there is absolutely no evidence they have, we should never engage in rewarding Turkey for taking hostages. Erdogan has proven he has no respect for the rule of law and, instead, rules by fear.

We must not assist him in his destruction of democracy in Turkey. American hostages like Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held for more than 600 days, must be returned. Until then, the United States needs to reevaluate whether Turkey wants to be considered a friend or foe.

And that is just the way it is.