No decision on Turkey sanctions yet, top USA diplomat says

Lester Mason
October 18, 2018

President Trump welcomed the Brunsons to the White House over the weekend, just after the couple's return stateside. In the Oval Office, there were a number of senators and the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and also John Bolton who is the Advisor of National Security.

Brunson was accused of terror-related charges and espionage, and faced up to 35 years in jail.

Brunson knelt on one knee, put his hand on Trump's shoulder, and prayed for the president.

On Friday he was sentenced to three years in prison yet was released because he had been detained for two years, Reuters reported.

Andrew also said: "For whatever reason the Turkish government was holding us for, I believe that God was involved in this for us, because I think of millions of people who prayed for Turkey in that time".

Pompeo's comments came after a Turkish court last Friday ruled in favor of releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson almost two years after Turkish authorities arrested him on charges of terrorism linked to the 2016 failed coup attempt.

Brunson's homecoming amounts to a diplomatic - and possibly political - win for Trump and his evangelical base. His arrest two years ago led to USA tariffs against Turkey and condemnation from Trump. "I told him we would never allow that to happen", said Tillis in a statement after Brunson's release.

When Brunson asked Trump if he could pray for him, the president replied, "Well, I need it probably more than anyone else in this room, so that would be very nice, thank you".

After it was clear that Andrew would not be released, Norinne and the family went through "a lot of uncertainty", because "I wanted to stay with him [Andrew] but did not know if I could remain in the country".

Hudson sits on the worldwide Helsinki Commission and added an amendment to the groups annual accord that said Turkey could not hold Brunson and others.

Trump hailed the release, which has been seen as an opening for Ankara and Washington to restore frayed ties, including with Pompeo, who met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier Wednesday.

In his brief prayer for Trump, Brunson also asked God to protect Trump from enemies and make the president a blessing to the nation. I ask that you'd give him perseverance and endurance and courage to stand for truth. "And we bless him". Held on charges of espionage and undermining the constitutional order of the state, he was declared guilty of "terror" at an October 12 hearing in Aliaga, Turkey, sentenced to more than three years' imprisonment and released on time served.

"We were very shocked because we had spent 23 years working very openly, telling people about Jesus, helping refugees, things like that".

Trump maintained the two cases were not linked, saying Brunson's release amid the Khashoggi investigation was "strict coincidence". It was my wife really who got me through that time.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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