U.S. President Donald Trump says he hopes to have U.S. evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson back in the United States soon.
Brunson is a 50-year-old American pastor who was convicted Friday of terror-related charges by a Turkish court but released from house arrest and allowed to leave Turkey. The move is likely to ease tensions between the two NATO allies.
Shortly after the verdict was announced, Trump tweeted: “Working very hard on Pastor Brunson!”
Trump also tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with Pastor Brunson, and we hope to have him safely back home soon!”
The pastor is a native of North Carolina, but has lived in Turkey for more than two decades and has been imprisoned for the past two years. He is one of thousands caught up in a Turkish government crackdown following a failed 2016 coup against the Turkish government.
Prosecutors accused Brunson of committing crimes on behalf of terror groups. He denied all the charges.