Turkish court sentences US pastor Andrew Craig Brunson three years in prison but rules he won’t serve the sentence because of time already served.
A Turkish court ruled on Friday to release US pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest, sentencing him to three years in prison but saying he will not spend any more time in custody because of time already served.
The court's decision to lift judicial controls means that evangelical pastor Brunson, at the heart of a diplomatic spat between the two countries, could leave Turkey and return to the United States.
TRT World's Hasan Abdullah has more details.
Brunson has been under arrest since December 2016 and under house arrest since July.
He was arrested on charges of espionage and for his links to the PKK and Fetullah Terror Organisation (FETO), which is blamed for the unsuccessful July 2016 putsch attempt that killed 251 people and wounded thousands.
US reacts immediately
President Donald Trump on Friday said he hoped Brunson would be home safe soon, shortly after the Turkish court ruling.
My thoughts and prayers are with Pastor Brunson, and we hope to have him safely back home soon!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2018
TRT World 's Sally Ayhan reports from Washington.
A senior official at the Turkish presidency in a statement said Friday’s ruling reaffirmed that Turkey is a democratic country with the rule of law, adding the ruling established the independence and impartiality of the Turkish judiciary.
The arrest of the pastor soured Turkey-US relations and opened the proverbial Pandora's Box, with the US supporting YPG, a PKK offshoot in Syria, all the while refusing to extradite FETO leader Fetullah Gulen to Turkey.
Both countries have experienced suspension of visa services and retaliatory sanctions and tariffs.
TRT World's Hasan Abdullah reports.