Turkey Says The US Should Reconsider Possible Sanctions Over Detained Pastor

Turkey Says The US Should Reconsider Possible Sanctions Over Detained Pastor

Turkey Says The US Should Reconsider Possible Sanctions Over Detained Pastor

President Donald Trump said in a tweet last week that Brunson was being held hostage and that Erdoğan should "do something to free this wonderful Christian husband & father".

Trump said Brunson "is suffering greatly".

Brunson, an evangelical pastor and North Carolina native, will be released from jail in western Turkey and returned to his house because of "health problems", according to the Associated Press.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to slap "large sanctions" on Turkey unless Ankara freed an American pastor whose detention has further strained relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Just hours earlier, US Vice President Mike Pence said that if Turkey does not take immediate action to free Brunson, "the United States of America will impose significant sanctions on Turkey".

The email address you have provided is already registered. The court, citing Brunson's declining health, was likely prompted to change tack by a raft of sanctions Congress has vowed to ram through over the continued detention of Brunson and other United States nationals and Turkish citizens who work for U.S. diplomatic missions in Turkey. Brunson could receive an additional 20 years if he is found guilty of espionage.

"With regard to the Brunson case, necessary information has been provided to our USA counterparts on various occasions and it has been clearly expressed that this issue is totally within the competence of the independent Turkish judiciary", Aksoy told the agency.

Erdogan has previously linked Brunson's return to the U.S.to the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen, the man Turkey's government holds responsible for the failed 2016 coup.

"The intent, as I understand it, is to signal to Turkey that there is an off ramp and that movement on the two issues, the S-400 and Brunson, would signal a Turkish desire to reset the relationship", said Aaron Stein, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who is an expert on Turkey and military affairs.

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On July 18, a court had again ordered Brunson to remain in prison, defying growing pressure from the U.S. authorities for his release and causing dismay among supporters.

The NATO allies are also at odds over USA policy in Syria, where Washington's ally in the fight against Islamic State is a Kurdish militia Turkey says is an extension of the PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency in southeast Turkey.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he welcomed news of Brunson's release, but that it was "not enough".

His lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, said on July 18 the prosecution has added the testimonies of two new anonymous witnesses to the case and that the court will hold its next hearing on October 12 to hear them and view new evidence.

The exchange comes a day after Brunson was released from a Turkish prison and placed under house arrest while his trial continues.

Erdogan has in the past linked Brunson's fate with that of the USA -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. The crackdown has targeted journalists, activists and opposition figures.

During a recent hearing, Brunson he rejected charges against him.

Turkey wants the U.S. to agree to his extradition. "I forgive those who lie and bear false witness against me".

The United States has long used bases in Turkey for operations across the Middle East, but relations have been strained by Washington's support for Kurdish fighters in Syria.

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