New reports indicate that the Trump administration has struck a secret deal with Turkey for the release of an American pastor imprisoned there.
According to The Daily Caller:
The White House has reportedly struck a secret deal with the Turkish government to release an American pastor who has been jailed in Turkey for more than two years.
The Trump administration expects that the Turkish government will release the pastor, Andrew Brunson, within days, according to NBC News.
Brunson and his wife were jailed in October 2016 on allegations that they helped groups designated as terrorist organizations in Turkey. Brunson, who operated Christian churches in Turkey for 23 years until his arrest, is currently scheduled to attend a court hearing in his case on Friday.
President Donald Trump reportedly believed in July that he had struck a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to free Brunson. Trump asked the Israeli government to release a Turkish woman from jail there in exchange for Brunson’s freedom, according to reports. But instead of allowing Brunson to return back to the U.S., the Turkish courtordered him held on house arrest while he awaited trial.
Trump and Erdogan have had a contentious relationship over this issue. When Erdogan didn’t fully release the pastor the first time Trump slammed Turkey’s leader on Twitter and the administration placed sanctions on the country.