Christian pastor Andrew Brunson released and allowed to leave Turkey
Christian pastor Andrew Brunson released and allowed to leave Turkey
American Pastor Back in Court for Spying and Terror Trial
12 October, 2018, 23:00
On July 25, citing Brunson's health problems, an Izmir court ordered him moved from jail to house arrest.
According to Reuters, "A Turkish court ruled on Friday to release the us evangelical Christian pastor at the centre of a bitter diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington, a move that could be the first step towards mending ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies".
He rejected the charges and strongly maintained his innocence.
The Brunson case has grown into the biggest of several disputes between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and has been one of the factors in a 40 percent slide in value of the Turkish lira this year.
Both countries have experienced suspension of visa services and retaliatory sanctions and tariffs.
One witness accused another who testified against Brunson of holding a vendetta after he was kicked out of the congregation.
"We are grateful for the President's commitment and efforts in securing my release", said Pastor Andrew Brunson, shortly before leaving Turkey en route to the U.S.
Retracting his earlier statements in the indictment, the witness said he is a nationalist and views all Syrians as terrorists.
US broadcaster NBC said on Thursday that Washington had done a secret deal with Ankara to secure Brunson's release.
Trump later celebrated the news in a follow-up tweet.
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On Friday, he celebrated the pastor's release on Twitter. But he had previously suggested a possible swap of Brunson and the Pennsylvania-resident Fethullah Gulen - the cleric accused of being behind the coup. At the time, he was facing the prospect of up to 35 years in prison.
Turkey detained Brunson in October 2016 in the aftermath of a failed military coup. Gulen is accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt. "We will eventually win", the indictment quoted the text.
"There is a will on both sides to solve this problem", said a USA diplomat.
Weeks later, he was ousted by US President Donald Trump which added uncertainty to the relationship between the two countries.
USA and Turkey suspend visa services in a tit-for-tat move. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's communications director, Fahrettin Altun, repeated the president's stance that Turkey would not bow to threats of sanctions and said the court's ruling Friday proved the judiciary's independence. "@SecondLady and I look forward to welcoming Pastor Brunson and his courageous wife Norine back to the U.S.!" You have one pastor [Gulen] as well.
"We are overjoyed that God has answered the prayers of so many people around the world", she said. "You can give him right away".
"We remain hopeful that with the court proceeding tomorrow that Turkey will see its way clear and free this good man who is guilty of nothing and who has been incarcerated for several years in Turkey unjustly", Pence said.
Lauren Brunson, a sister of the pastor, told Fox News her family feels as if it's been on a roller coaster.
Brunson is arrested for his links to FETO. Brunson was taken into custody in 20-16 over terrorism charges. Brunson and his wife are then sent to the immigration office for deportation.
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