Lawyer of US cleric: Brunson to leave Turkey

By Tolga Albay

IZMIR, Turkey 

U.S. pastor Andrew Craig Brunson will leave Turkey after completing legal procedures, his lawyers said, after a court released him on Friday.

An Izmir court sentenced the pastor to three years and 45 days in prison, but he will not serve the time in jail.

The court credited his time spent in detention, and ended his house arrest and travel ban.

Speaking to reporters after the court’s decision, Ismail Cem Halavurt said: “My client will leave the country. There are a couple of procedures to remove the provisions of judicial control. It will not take long.”

The cleric was arrested on Dec. 9, 2016 on charges of being member of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). On July 25, citing Brunson’s health problems, an Izmir court ordered him moved from jail to house arrest.

Brunson’s charges include spying for the PKK — listed as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey — and FETO, the group behind the defeated coup attempt in Turkey of July 2016. 

Turkey and the U.S. have faced rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions over Brunson’s detention. 

Political tensions between the two countries sparked worries in the markets after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to use economic pressure to secure Brunson’s release.