Pastor Andrew Brunson has been released from Turkey where he was being held as a prisoner. This is a huge win for the Trump administration, which took chances on a hard-nosed sanctions campaign against the nation.
Bloomberg News reports:
Turkey Frees U.S. Pastor in Move Long Sought by Trump and Pence
A Turkish court set free U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson after holding him in prison for almost two years, removing a key source of tension between Turkey and the United States.
The court in Izmir convicted Brunson, 50, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina, and sentenced him to three years, 1 month and 15 days in jail, but lifted all judicial controls and released him after accounting for penalty reductions and time served.
Brunson had been accused of collaborating with terrorist groups and participating in a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. His prolonged imprisonment led the U.S. to impose sanctions on two Turkish ministers and threaten further penalties were he not released. His release will be seen as a political victory for President Donald Trump, who started his day on Twitter by saying he was “working very hard” on the Brunson case.
“It will be a victory, there is no question,” said Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. “I’m wondering what the political cost may be.”
Trump tweeted about it:
My thoughts and prayers are with Pastor Brunson, and we hope to have him safely back home soon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2018
Welcome home, Pastor Brunson!