Washington and Ankara have reached a secret agreement on the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, NBC reported citing US administration officials.
Brunson is expected to be released after Friday’s court trial in Turkey, and to return to the US in the coming days. According to sources, the charges against him will be dropped at the upcoming court hearing.
The details of this secret deal are unclear. But those who are familiar with the respective talks have announced that the US has agreed to reduce its economic pressure on Turkey.
The Trump administration, however, is not completely convinced that Turkey will honor this agreement, since Ankara had promised to release him several months ago, but it did not.
The Brunson affair has caused tension between Ankara and Washington. Turkish authorities accuse Pastor Andrew Brunson of espionage, and assisting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—which is banned in Turkey—and the plotters of the coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016.
He is facing up to 35 years in prison.
Washington, however, believes that Brunson is innocent, and his arrest and trial have political motives.