Turkey convicts USA pastor but lets him leave

Turkey convicts USA pastor but lets him leave

Turkey convicts USA pastor but lets him leave

The Trump administration is hopeful that Andrew Craig Brunson (C) could be freed at the hearing, but the State Department has said it was unaware of any deal with the Turkish government for his release. They are cautiously awaiting until Brunson gets home before any congratulations are issued.

This makes sense, given the many false starts in the past several weeks, where Trump officials issued positive sounding statements to the press about Brunson's imminent release, only to have talks stall.

Brunson's charges include spying for the PKK - listed as a terrorist group by both the USA and Turkey - and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) - the group behind the defeated coup attempt in Turkey of July 2016.

The prosecutor asked the court to end the house arrest and foreign travel ban of Brunson, raising the prospect he could be freed after two years of detention.

One of the many areas of friction between Turkey and the United States may finally be resolved, according to a report on Thursday, after a secret deal was apparently stuck for the release of a USA citizen who has been detained for two years.

It had moved Brunson from prison to house arrest in July.

"I'm very hopeful that before too long, Pastor Brunson will - he and his wife - will be able to return to the United States... and we're very hopeful that we'll see a good outcome before too long", he said.

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"That needs to be done immediately", he added.

"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.

With Washington slapping sanctions on Ankara, the crisis also sparked a crash in the Turkish lira in August that exposed Turkey's economic fragility.

Turkish prosecutors had sought a 35-year sentence for Brunson, who they accused of spying and supporting terrorists under the cover of humanitarian aid and interfaith dialogue.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said that his government could not interfere in a judicial case. "On Oct. 12 there will be another hearing and we don't know what the court will decide and politicians will have no say on the verdict".

"We see this as a possible face-saving way for Erdogan to agree to Brunson's release", the Eurasia Group said last week.

Vice President Pence took a particular interest in Brunson's case and has helped mobilize Trump's evangelical political base to the cause. "The current economic challenges have been exaggerated more than necessary and Turkey will overcome these challenges with its own resources", the President declared.

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