Trump says freed USA pastor will be 'back home soon'

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Brunson, 50, had suffered for his faith in prison and then house arrest at the hands of Turkey, America's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, since October 2016. The evangelical pastor had been accused of terror-related charges and espionage, facing up to 35 years in jail if convicted.

US Pastor Andrew Brunson, front left, arrives at home after his release, following his trial in Izmir, Turkey, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, A Turkish court on Friday convicted an American pastor of terror charges but released him from house arrest and allowed him to leave Turkey, in a move that is likely to ease tensions between Turkey and the United States.

The pastor was arrested on December 9, 2016, on charges of being member of Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).

A Turkish court has ordered the release of pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held in Turkish custody since 2016 when he was arrested on terror charges.

"I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

Trump also tweeted: "My thoughts and prayers are with Pastor Brunson, and we hope to have him safely back home soon!"

Additional espionage charges against him were dropped. Witnesses later said he wept as the verdict was announced.

The fourth hearing of the case against Brunson took place in a prison complex near the western Turkish city of Izmir. His wife Norine looked on from the visitors' seating area as he listened to testimony from defense and prosecution witnesses. Several Turkish-American citizens - including NASA scientist Serkan Golge and several workers from the United States Embassy in Ankara - are languishing in prison alleged to have a connection to Gulen's group.

That means he could leave the country, where he worked as a pastor for two decades, as soon as Friday.

Mr Brunson's detention deepened a rift between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, who are also at odds over the Syrian war and Turkey's plan to buy missile defences from Russian Federation.

Tillis, in an interview with Fox News, credited Trump with securing the release, calling him the "MVP in helping us get Pastor Brunson released".

Kerem said Pastor Brunson stood for more than his own freedom.

Brunson, 50, has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years.

Prosecutors had accused Brunson of acting on behalf of terror groups, specifically linking him to outlawed Kurdish militants and a network led by USA -based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has resisted demands for Brunson's release, insisting that the courts are independent.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan, meanwhile, had said Turkey won't extradite anyone to the US until USA extradites Gulen.

This June, the US Senate approved a bill that would block or delay the sale of the F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, and earlier this month, US President Trump chose to delay the delivery of jets to Turkey for at least 90 days. He was among tens of thousands of people, mostly Turks, who were caught up in a government crackdown after the failed coup.

U.S. officials believe they're on the verge of securing the release of Andrew Brunson, the American pastor jailed by Turkey on accusations he helped plot a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a source familiar with the matter.