Wednesday, 22 May, 2019


Turkish court releases United States pastor Brunson after eventful hearing

BREAKING White House Reaches Deal With Turkey to Free Jailed US Pastor Andrew Brunson  image Getty Center for Law and Justice BREAKING White House Reaches Deal With Turkey to Free Jailed US Pastor Andrew Brunson image Getty Center for Law and Justice
Conrad Doyle | 12 October, 2018, 17:08

U.S. officials believe they're on the verge of securing the release of Andrew Brunson, the American pastor jailed by Turkey on accusations he helped plot a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Senior White House officials told NBC News they believe that charges against Brunson will be dropped at his next hearing, set for Friday.

A Turkish court convicted American pastor Andrew Brunson of aiding terrorism on Friday but sentenced him to just time served and ordered his immediate release.

There was optimism several months ago, including from Brunson's attorney who said in a radio interview that he expected the pastor's release at the time, followed by a decision by Turkish authorities to continue to hold the usa citizen under house arrest while he faced trial.

According to the NBC report, Trump administration officials aren't "fully confident" that Turkey will actually go through with the agreement.

A Turkish court will rule on Friday on the detention of Andrew Craig Brunson - a U.S. pastor who is at the centre of a diplomatic row between Washington and Ankara. NBC reported the news, citing the White House sources who added that the United States will ease economic pressure on Turkey as part of the deal.

Relations have not been good between the United States and Turkey, with Brunson becoming caught up in a protracted political feud.

Turkey and the USA have faced rocky relations following Washington's imposition of sanctions over Brunson's detention. Prosecutors accused the pastor of being linked both to Kurdish separatists and the USA -based Muslim cleric Turkish authorities say orchestrated a failed coup attempt in 2016.

"I'm very hopeful that before too long Pastor Brunson, he and his wife, will be able to return to the United States", Pompeo said in response to a question as he accepted an award from a pro-Israel group. "The Brunson case is not even closely related to Turkey's economy".

The Post said the deal included lifting USA sanctions, some already imposed and others threatened.

The case against the evangelical preacher from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, triggered a diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington with USA slapping tariffs against Turkey.

"This is a judiciary matter", Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters at the time.

Last week, Erdogan accused the Trump administration of using Brunson as a pretext for sanctions, charging the pastor has "dark ties to terror groups, Bloomberg reported".

The court's decision of house arrest had failed to improve tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, and Washington sanctioned two Turkish officials and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports.

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