After Being Held for Two Years in Turkey, Pastor Brunson is Released

Pastor Andrew Brunson is escorted by Turkish plainclothes police officers on July 25 in Izmir. More

Pastor Andrew Brunson is escorted by Turkish plainclothes police officers on July 25 in Izmir. More

"The fact that he is now on a plane to the United States can only be viewed as a significant victory for Pastor Brunson and his family", he said.

The court near the western city of Izmir sentenced North Carolina native Andrew Brunson to three years, one month and 15 days in prison for allegedly helping terror groups.

U.S consulate officials escort Norine Brunson, wife of American pastor Andrew Brunson, as she departs for her husband's court hearing on October 12, 2018 in Izmir, Turkey. Before the judge's ruling he had told the court: "I am an innocent man". Making a statement in flawless Turkish, the Evangelical Presbyterian minister, who moved to Turkey in 1993, said, "I'm an innocent man - I love Jesus, and I love this country".

No deal was struck between Washington and Ankara for releasing pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkish prison, US President Donald Trump said.

Brunson, 50, was indicted by a Turkish court on charges of having links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group and the movement of the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of having masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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".

Additional espionage charges against him were dropped.

U.S. President Donald Trump says he hopes to have U.S. evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson back in the United States soon.

Brunson is scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on Friday.

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In August, the us slapped sanctions on an array of Turkish officials and on some goods, sending Turkish currency into freefall. His prolonged imprisonment led the U.S.to impose sanctions on two Turkish ministers and threaten further penalties were he not released.

"President Trump and his team have been tenacious in seeking the release of Pastor Brunson", Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ said."We're grateful to the president, members of Congress and diplomatic leaders who continued to put pressure on Turkey to secure the freedom of Pastor Brunson". Allies are expected to purchase hundreds of additional F-35s, and eight nations, including Japan, South Korea, Denmark and Norway, are cost-sharing partners in the program with the United States.

The pastor, who is originally from Black Mountain, North Carolina, led a small congregation in the Izmir Resurrection Church.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Members of Mr Brunson's church celebrated in front of his house after he was released What was he accused of?

But a top Turkish official criticized Trump's tweets claiming that he was "working hard" to get the pastor's release.

US pastor Andrew Brunson, accompanied by Turkish security officers, arrives at Aliaga Prison and Courthouse complex in a vehicle in Izmir, Turkey October 12, 2018.

The decision will mark a step toward improved relations between the USA and Turkey.

Brunson's lawyers petition the Constitutional Court, Turkey's highest court, for his release after being rejected by high criminal courts in the Aegean Izmir province.

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