Jacqueline Furnari's social media accounts aren't that different from those of any other 19-year-old. The recent UNC Chapel Hill graduate has photos with her friends at the beach, memes about the stress of finals and a video capturing the moment Carolina became the 2017 NCAA men's basketball champions.
Except, something is off. In between those lively posts, there are articles pleading for the release of her father, Pastor Andrew Brunson.
Brunson is imprisoned in Turkey over charges of ties to terrorist organizations, which he denies. He has been detained since a 2016 coup attempt against the Turkish president, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In a letter to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe from 2017, Furnari highlighted the milestones in her life Brunson has missed in the past two years. Furnari married with her father's blessings, but said she was holding off on the wedding until he could walk her down the aisle. Brunson missed seeing her graduate from UNC in December 2017.
"Turkey has been home to my family. It felt like shock and betrayal," Furnari said in an interview from Texas, where she now lives.
Before her father's arrest, Furnari said in her letter, deportation had been seen as the worst-case scenario for non-Turkish Christian pastors.
Brunson and his wife, Norine Brunson, helped run the Izmir Resurrection Church in Izmir, on the west coast of Turkey, and did other missionary work.
"My brothers and I grew up there. We went to elementary school there," Furnari said. Her parents wanted their kids to fully assimilate into the country they were calling home, and to learn the Turkish language.
Leaders in Raleigh and Washington, D.C., have taken up the family's cause. The U.S. Senate on Monday declared Brunson was "wrongly charged" and called on the secretary of defense to produce a plan for cutting off Turkey's access to F-35 fighter jets. Those provisions are included in a massive defense policy bill.
North Carolina state legislators passed a House resolution last week encouraging Congress to take proactive measures to free Brunson, including possible sanctions against the NATO ally.
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis has long pushed for Brunson's release. The North Carolina Republican witnessed part of the pastor's trial in April and speaks weekly on the issue of Brunson’s return to North Carolina.
“This is not about valid charges. This is about a political hostage,” Tillis said in a speech on the floor of the Senate last week.
Tillis said in his speech the Turkish president explicitly said “we can short circuit all of this by you trading your pastor for our pastor.”
The Turkish pastor is Fethullah Gülen, who is currently in exile in Pennsylvania. Gülen is a Turkish cleric who is accused of planning the 2016 coup against Erdoğan.
Tillis has pushed for the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to prevent Turkey from purchasing Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighter planes. The amendment would also remove Turkey from the F-35 training program currently in place.
In the state House, the resolution won bipartisan support and passed unanimously.
Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Hendersonville Republican, said Brunson's former home in Western North Carolina is close to his district.
“There’s got to be actions for Turkey. It seems to be more about politics,” McGrady said. “I want to stand up for a North Carolina citizen.”
Tillis praised the resolution in the state House, where he formerly served as the top leader. "While Turkey has been a NATO ally since 1952, the Turkish government has started to act like more of an adversary, which includes the wrongful imprisonment of Pastor Brunson," he said in a statement.
Brunson is waiting for his next hearing on July 18.
"My parents didn't have any plans of leaving Turkey," Furnari said in the interview. "They were going to dedicate their entire lives to serving the people of Turkey."