Erdogan Tells Trump Turkish Court Ruled To Release US Pastor Independently

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Erdogan Tells Trump Turkish Court Ruled to Release US Pastor Independently

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday, addressing his US counterpart Donald Trump, that the Turkish court's decision to release US pastor Andrew Brunson was independent.

ANKARA (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 13th October, 2018) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday, addressing his US counterpart Donald Trump, that the Turkish court's decision to release US pastor Andrew Brunson was independent.

The US citizen was released on Friday, a day after media reports emerged saying that the United States and Turkey struck a secret deal to have the pastor released in exchange for Washington easing economic pressure on Ankara. Earlier on Saturday, Trump denied making any deals with Turkey to secure the release of Brunson, but added that he appreciated Ankara's move and wanted to thank Erdogan for his help.

"Dear President Trump, as I have always stressed, the Turkish court made its decision independently.

I hope that the United States and Turkey will continue their cooperation as befits allies, and will jointly fight against terrorist organizations, primarily FETO, the Kurdistan Workers' Party [both considered terrorist by Ankara] and the Islamic State [banned in Russia]," Erdogan wrote on Twitter.

Brunson was detained three years ago over his alleged ties to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of plotting the 2016 failed military coup. The pastor was released from prison in July 2018, only to be moved to house arrest. He was allowed to walk free on Friday after a court in Izmir ruled he did not have to serve any more jail time. He soon boarded a plane for the United States.

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