Ankara may release US pastor Brunson this month - Pompeo

Pompeo said the pastor "should be released" in September, adding "he should be released today, in fact"
Tuesday, 25 September 2018 16:49

Turkey may release US pastor Andrew Brunson later this month, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a press briefing on Monday.

"Yes, he could be released this month. He should have been released last month -- and he should be released today, in fact," the top US diplomat told reporters in New York where he is taking part in the UN General Assembly.

The secretary emphasized that Turkey knows all of Washington's requirements to put an end to the issue.

"Pastor Brunson and other US persons who are being held by Turkey all need to be released by Turkey, and that needs to be done immediately," Pompeo said.

Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for a quarter-century, belongs to an evangelical Protestant church. Turkey detained him for alleged connections to the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen's network, which attempt a failed military coup in Turkey. 

His indictment also accuses him of working with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group which has waged a decades-long armed conflict in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had suggested making a deal for Brunson's release, such as trading him for his former ally Fethullah Gülen.

Brunson was released from prison in late July, only to be placed under house arrest.