U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson leaves Turkey

13 October, 2018, 01:49 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson Reportedly Set to be Released by Turkish Government

"I thank God for Pastor Brunson's release and look forward to his return to the United States", said Dr.

The court in the western town of Aliaga convicted Andrew Brunson on terror-related charges and sentenced him to three years, one month and 15 days in jail, an AFP correspondent said. "President Trump and his team have been tenacious in seeking the release of Pastor Brunson", says Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ.

"I love Jesus, I love Turkey", he said.

While supporters in the United States celebrated Brunson's release, his case overshadowed the predicament of a Turkish-American scientist from NASA and several Turkish workers for the US diplomatic mission who were arrested in Turkey.

He was charged with ties to two groups Turkey considers terrorist organizations: A Kurdish separatist group called the PKK that the USA has also designated a terrorist organization, and the Gulenists, a political-religious movement led by exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of fomenting a 2016 failed coup attempt.

With Brunson out, the main issue between Turkey and the USA now, a Turkish diplomat told MEE, is the "US ambition to create an autonomous state for the YPG in Syria".

Their son was arrested two years ago when Turkish authorities accused him of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulenist movement.

He subsequently set off on his way home via a planned two-day stay in Germany, with US President Donald Trump tweeting: "PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED". Brunson flew out from Izmir's global airport on late Saturday evening, hours after a local court ordered his release.


Sanctions, trade tariffs and the threat of more had led US-Turkey relations to nosedive - and with them, the Turkish lira.

The US has maintained he is held unjustly and has repeatedly called for his release. USA officials, including the president, have been applying increasing pressure on Turkey to free Brunson.

USA broadcaster NBC said Turkey and the United States had reached a secret deal for Brunson to be released Friday, with some charges against him dropped, in exchange for the U.S. easing "economic pressure" that included sanctions that have hammered the lira. Thom Tillis, who visited Turkey to attend part of Brunson's trial.

Hours later, Brunson was transported to Izmir's airport and was flown out of Turkey, where he had lived for more than two decades.

"The United States and Turkey are North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and have a number of mutual concerns regarding regional security and stability", the senators said.

But in recent weeks, Brunson's release became the subject of talks "at the highest level" so that the U.S. and Turkey could move on to dealing with over issues facing the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, a United States diplomat told Middle East Eye.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Thursday that the US was hopeful he would soon go free but said she was unaware of any agreement on his release. If found guilty, Brunson could spend up to 35 years in a Turkish prison. He denies the accusation and Washington has demanded his immediate release.

Brunson was arrested and detained for 18 months before finally being charged by the Turkish government with a connection to the coup attempt.

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