Andrew Brunson, a U.S. pastor imprisoned in Turkey for years, causing strained relations between the two countries, has been released and will return home following negotiations with senior officials in the Trump administration.
Brunson had been imprisoned over unproven terror-related charges, while the White House worked vigorously for his release saying he was wrongfully detained.
He had been placed under house arrest where he could have sent his life. Instead, Brunson is expected to touch down on American soil in 48 hours.
A statement from his lawyer thanked the President and other officials involved in the negotiations.
“We’re grateful to the president, members of Congress and diplomatic leaders who continued to put pressure on Turkey to secure the freedom of Pastor Brunson,” Jay Sekulow stated.
On Friday morning, Trump tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with Pastor Brunson, and we hope to have him safely back home soon!”
He celebrated all-caps style shortly thereafter …
PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED. WILL BE HOME SOON!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2018
“I’ve got to thank President Trump,” Senator Thom Tillis said. “He was the, I think, MVP in helping us get Pastor Brunson released.”
In July, the President took to social media to put pressure on Turkey to release Brunson.
“A total disgrace that Turkey will not release a respected U.S. Pastor, Andrew Brunson, from prison,” he wrote. “He has been held hostage far too long. He has done nothing wrong, and his family needs him!”
In August, he announced economic sanctions against the NATO ally.
The following month, during a gathering of world leaders for the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton pushed negotiations further.
Multiple officials report that Brunson’s release came as the result of a “secret deal” meaning certain charges would be dropped against Brunson while the U.S. will agree to ease economic pressure.
In other words, President Trump announced that Brunson’s imprisonment was a disgrace, implemented economic sanctions, asked if they wanted to talk, and watched as Turkey very swiftly cried ‘Uncle!’
Pastor Andrew Brunson is coming home! Thanks to the strong leadership of @POTUS Trump and the steadfast prayers of millions of Americans, this innocent man of faith will soon be home!
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) October 12, 2018
Freeing hostages has been a focus for President Trump and his administration since he took office. He has had markedly better success than his predecessor in this department.
In May, thanks to his hardball negotiating style, Trump saw North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un release three Americans that were imprisoned in his rogue country.
Last year, an American woman, her Canadian husband, and their three young children all born in captivity, were released from a Taliban-linked group in Pakistan.
And a report from GQ on the Otto Warmbier case indicated that upon hearing of the young American’s condition, the President dispatched a plane to North Korea without bothering to ask them permission.
His style – fire and fury – is unmatched. Nor is his success.
“The world is starting to respect us again,” Trump once boasted. “Believe me.”
Read more at the Political Insider