The media is reporting the Trump administration has finally strongarmed Turkey into releasing kidnapped pastor Andrew Brunson. It’s great news:
The White House expects North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson to be released by the Turkish government and returned to the U.S. in the coming days, two years after he was detained, according to two senior administration officials and another person briefed on the matter.
Under an agreement senior Trump administration officials recently reached with Turkey, Brunson is supposed to be released after certain charges against him are dropped at his next court hearing, currently scheduled for Friday, the senior administration officials and a person briefed on the matter said.
The details of the deal are unclear, but those familiar with the discussions said it includes a commitment by the U.S. to ease economic pressure on Turkey.
The Trump administration, however, isn’t fully confident that Turkey will follow through with the Brunson agreement because Ankara was close to a commitment to release him several months ago but did not, one senior administration official said.
Administration officials have said the release of Brunson, as well as other Americans, would be a significant step toward mending ties between the U.S. and Turkey.
“This administration has been actively engaged in seeking Pastor Brunson’s release for months, along with NASA scientist Serkan Golge and the employees of the U.S. mission in Turkey,” the third senior administration official said. “A positive development in the cases of Pastor Brunson, Serkan Golge, and local employees of the U.S. mission in Turkey would do much to improve confidence and to restore the bilateral relationship.”