U.S. pastor Brunson back in Turkish court for spying and terror trial

U.S. pastor Brunson back in Turkish court for spying and terror trial

NBC News and The Washington Post reported on October 11 that the US and Turkey had reached an agreement in which some charges against Brunson would be dropped and he would be released at the hearing or soon after.

According to a report on NBC News, the agreement was reached "recently", and the release is expected to come after a Friday hearing in Turkey's top court leads to the dropping of espionage charges against Brunson.

Brunson has been accused of aiding terrorist groups as well as participation in a 2016 attempted coup.

A previous deal to get Brunson freed collapsed in July when a Turkish court chose to place the American pastor under house arrest.

One of the many areas of friction between Turkey and the United States may finally be resolved, according to a report on Thursday, after a secret deal was apparently stuck for the release of a U.S. citizen who has been detained for two years.

NBC's sources said an agreement on Brunson's release was advanced in discussions last month between Turkish and usa officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, during the United Nations General Assembly in NY.

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.

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"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", the vice-president told reporters at a briefing. Brunson is facing terrorism charges, which he denies. "We hope to solve the matters between us as soon as possible and develop ties with the U.S.in politics and the economy once again, in line with the spirit of being strategic partners".

Despite pressure from the Trump administration, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted that he has no sway over the judiciary and that the courts will decide on Brunson's fate.

In a Middle East Eye report in late September, Turkish and USA officials said they were working to free Brunson.

An American pastor may soon be released after two years of captivity in Turkey. Gulen has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999.

Officials remained cautious, however, in light of a deal that fell apart last summer, with both sides blaming each other for acting in bad faith.

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.

"I don't have the right to order his release", Erdogan added.

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