Trump administration cautiously optimistic pastor jailed in Turkey will be freed

NBC News: US Pastor to Be Released After Secret Turkey Deal

NBC News: US Pastor to Be Released After Secret Turkey Deal

NBC cited sources as saying that under an agreement US officials reached recently with Turkey, Brunson would be released after certain charges against him were dropped at his next court hearing.

Administrations officials have said Brunson's release "would be a significant step towards mending ties between the us and Turkey".

Brunson was taken from his house - where he had been under house arrest since July 25 - under strict security measures and brought to the prison and courthouse complex in Aliağa district for the trial.

One senior administration official express skepticism Turkey is going to carry through on its end of the deal Friday, because there had been and agreement to release him before that had fallen through, according to the report.

Andrew Brunson arrived the court in a police auto before daybreak on October 12, 2018.

Brunson, a Christian preacher from North Carolina, became the center of a diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington after Turkey jailed him on terrorism charges.

If Turkey follows through on the purported agreement, that economic pressure will be eased, the U.S. officials told NBC News. Leaked reports by Turkish officials allege the Saudis lured Khashoggi to its Istanbul consulate, where they then murdered him and disposed of his dismembered body.

At the beginning of August, the U.S. Treasury slapped hefty economic sanctions upon two Turkish officials who were largely responsible for the jailing of an American missionary.

An American pastor may soon be released after two years of captivity in Turkey.

"I am very hopeful that before too long. he and his wife will be able to return to the United States", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday. "On Oct. 12 there will be another hearing and we don't know what the court will decide and politicians will have no say on the verdict". Charges against Brunson would be reduced and he would be sentenced to time served or be allowed to serve any remaining term in the United States, the Post said, citing US officials and people close to the case.

"We remain hopeful that with the court proceeding tomorrow that Turkey will see its way clear and free this good man who is guilty of nothing and who has been incarcerated for several years in Turkey unjustly", Pence said. Trump then authorized a doubling of existing US steel and aluminum tariffs against Turkey.

But amid the frenzied diplomatic crisis that has followed Khashoggi's disappearance, releasing Brunson now could afford Turkey much-needed leverage from the U.S.in challenging Saudi Arabia.

The row with the United States has exacerbated pressures on Turkey's lira, which has plunged more than 40 percent this year over concerns about Erdogan's influence on monetary policy, relations with Washington and the central bank's ability to rein in double-digit inflation. He has denied the accusation - as has Gulen - and Washington has demanded his immediate release.

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