The Trump administration is hopeful that American pastor Andrew Brunson who is on trial in Turkey could be freed at a Friday court hearing، but the State Department said it was unaware of any deal with the Turkish government for his release, Reuters reported.
NBC News and The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the United States and Turkey had reached an agreement in which some charges against Brunson would be dropped and he would be released at the hearing or soon after.
In addition to the U.S. State Department، Vice President Mike Pence، speaking at a briefing، declined to confirm any deal، but he voiced hope for Brunson’s release.
“We remain hopeful that with the court proceeding tomorrow that Turkey will see its way clear and free this good man who is guilty of nothing and who has been incarcerated for several years in Turkey unjustly،” Pence said.
President Trump، our administration، has made it clear that we will continue to stand strong until pastor Brunson is free and back home in the U.S. with his family and his church،” added Pence، a devout Christian who has worked to free Brunson for the last two years.
Two senior administration officials said there was no deal with Turkey for Brunson. “We’re hopeful but it’s a fluid situation،” said one official، speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Four U.S. Senators، including Republican Lindsay Graham and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen، released a joint statement saying Brunson’s release would “help improve U.S.-Turkey relations for the long-term