Israel freed Turkish detainee at Trump's request, official says

  • Israel freed Turkish detainee at Trump's request, official says

Israel freed Turkish detainee at Trump's request, official says

Cavusoglu also spoke to his USA counterpart Mike Pompeo over the phone following Trump's sanction threats, Anadolu Agency reported.

"This is one example of why religious freedom matters, and so we're going to have over 80 delegations here at the State Department in a handful of days, 40 of my counterparts, foreign ministers", Pompeo said in the interview. Her case angered Turkey.

Earlier in the day, US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated Trump's remarks. "The rhetoric of threat against Turkey is unacceptable".

Steven Cook, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told The National that while "the US-Turkey relationship is now clearly on the skids", Mr Trump deserves credit, he argued, for criticising Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's "malign policies". He was detained by Turkish forces in the aftermath of the failed coup, The indictment against him contends he worked to convert Kurds to Christianity to sow discord in Turkey.

And an Erdogan spokesman warned the "reconsider its approach and adopt a constructive position before inflicting further damage to its own interests and its alliance with Turkey".

Brunson, who denies charges of links to a group Ankara says was behind a failed 2016 coup, was moved to house arrest on Wednesday, prompting the Trump administration to threaten sanctions against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey.

Turkish foreign ministry also issued a statement, saying: "Turkey is a sovereign state with a deep-rooted democratic tradition and political order which upholds the supremacy of law".

Trump said on Twitter last week that the pastor's detention was "a total disgrace". The Senate has also considered bipartisan legislation to restrict loans to Turkey until it releases over a dozen US citizens it now has in captivity, including Brunson. He also condemned ISIS group violence toward religious minorities and what he described as rising anti-Semitism in Europe. Pompeo said the US would provide $17 million for de-mining efforts in Nineveh, an area of Iraq historically home to numerous country's religious minorities.

Andrew Brunson
Image Andrew Brunson has been suffering health problems

He was charged with spying for the PKK - a designated terrorist group in the US and Turkey - and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group Turkey accuses of orchestrating the defeated July 2016 coup attempt.

The president blamed Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen for organizing the coup and has demanded that the United States extradite Gulen, who now lives in the United States. Turkish requests for his arrest and extradition have not been granted.

More than 77,000 people were arrested across Turkey after the government declared a state of emergency following the failed 2016 coup.

Brunson has lived in Turkey for 23 years and served as pastor of Izmir Resurrection Church, a small Protestant congregation.

Brunson rejected evidence against him during a recent hearing, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency.

Halavurt also says Brunson's family is happy progress is being made in his case, but they still feel betrayed by the country their kids grew up in. "I forgive those who lie and bear false witness against me."Brunson's case has been adjourned until October 12".

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