Trump hails Brunson release as big step in Turkish ties

Baku, October 14, AZERTAC

Welcoming to the Oval Office a pastor newly freed by a Turkish court, U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the release as turning a new page in Turkish-American ties, Anadolu Agency reported.

“This is a tremendous step towards having the kind of relationship which can be a great relationship," Trump said at the White House, welcoming pastor Andrew Brunson, ordered freed by a Turkish judge on Friday.

"We feel much differently about Turkey today than we did yesterday. And I think we have a chance of really becoming much closer to Turkey and maybe having a very, very good relationship," he added.

Brunson was arrested in December 2016 and charged in the Aegean province of Izmir with being a member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind a defeated coup earlier that year.

After being transferred this July from jail to house arrest, on Friday Brunson was sentenced to just over three years in prison, but released due to time served and his good behavior in custody.

Trump threatening and imposing sanctions on Turkey over the issue sparked bilateral tensions and spooked markets.

However, Trump has signaled that Brunson's release could bring the NATO allies closer to each other.

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