(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said he made no concessions to secure the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was set free Friday by a Turkish court and is en route back to the U.S.
“He suffered greatly but we’re very appreciative to a lot of people,” Trump said Friday in Cincinnati, Ohio, on his way to a campaign rally. “There was no deal made” for his release, he added.
Trump said Brunson would visit the Oval Office, “most likely on Saturday.”
Brunson’s release resolves a key point of tension between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkey in August over the pastor’s detention, and had threatened to follow suit with more punitive measures if he wasn’t set free. The dispute compounded a 40 percent depreciation of the lira this year.
Brunson, 50, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina, had been jailed in Turkey for close to two years after a court in Izmir found him guilty of charges related to a failed coup attempt in 2016. The court on Friday lifted all judicial controls because of good behavior and time served, freeing Brunson to leave Turkey, where he’s lived for more than 20 years.
(Updates with Trump quote in fourth paragraph.)
To contact the reporters on this story: Jennifer Epstein in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Justin Sink in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, Joshua Gallu
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.