U.S. pastor Brunson releases from Turkey
A Turkish court ruled that the American Christian pastor at the center of a row between Ankara and Washington could go free.
Iran Press/Asia: The court sentenced Andrew Brunson to three years and 1-1/2 months in prison on terrorism charges, but said he would not serve any further jail time. The pastor, who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, was put in prison two years ago and has been under house arrest since July.
According to Reuters,This is the move that could be the first step toward mending ties between the NATO allies.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has imposed sanctions on Turkey in an attempt to secure Brunson’s release, tweeted: “PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED. WILL BE HOME SOON!”
Dressed in a black suit, white shirt and red tie, the North Carolina native wept as the decision was announced, witnesses said. Before the judge’s ruling he had told the court: “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus, I love Turkey.”
After the ruling, Brunson’s lawyer told reporters he pastor was likely to leave Turkey.
The US imposed sanctions against Turkey earlier this month in an effort to force the release of a US pastor who Ankara claims is linked to plotters of a failed 2016 military coup. Turkey, which has until now relied on Patriot batteries from NATO for its air defence, has been looking to procure its own system for year.
The Turkish president emphasized on need for Ankara's cooperation with other countries, in spite of the United States and Europe.
Meanwhile,President Donald Trump said he is very disappointed' in Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan over detained American pastor accused of spying.
Ties between Ankara and Washington are in an unprecedented crisis over the continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.
The continued detention of Brunson has become a lightning rod in strained relations between Turkey and the U.S., leading Washington to slap economic and political sanctions on its NATO ally.