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Turkey denies outside pressure resulted in Brunson's release

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - The Turkish government said on Saturday that outside pressure did not influence a court‘s decision to lift the house arrest and travel ban against US pastor Andrew Brunson.

"No Turkish office, especially our president, yielded to all the pressure, threats and outrageous statements," said Omer Celik, a spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Relations between Washington and Ankara soured over Brunson‘s two-year detention, with the Trump administration slapping sanctions on Turkey‘s justice and interior ministers.

The 50-year-old pastor was detained in October 2016 and arrested that December. He was accused of links to the movement of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric who lives in exile in the US and whom Turkey blames for a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

A ruling by a Turkish court on Friday allowed Brunson to receive credit for time already served, meaning he could go free.

After a brief stopover in Germany for a medical check, Brunson was due to arrive in Washington on Saturday. President Donald Trump said he would meet with him.

US media reported the White House had struck a deal with Ankara, in which Brunson would be released and some charges against him dropped in exchange for the easing of economic pressure on Turkey.

Turkey said its judiciary is independent of political concerns.

The case has seen Turkey and the US impose tit-for-tat sanctions on each other‘s senior officials, as well as tariffs on imports.


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