- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2018

American Pastor Andrew Brunson may return to the U.S. soon after a secret deal was made between the U.S. and Turkey, NBC News reported on Thursday.

Two unnamed senior administration officials and a third person briefed told NBC that the U.S. and Turkey reached a deal to secure Mr. Brunson’s return home. The charges against him should be dropped at his next court date on Friday.

NBC’s sources explained that much of the deal is unknown, but it will require the U.S. to back down on economic pressures.

The deal would be a step toward easing the growing tension between the two NATO allies, which has been mounting as the White House demanded that Mr. Brunson be released. He has been forced to remain in Turkey for the past two years.

Turkey arrested Mr. Brunson on terrorism charges after accusing him of having a hand in the failed 2016 military coup. The U.S. and Mr. Brunson deny he had anything to do with it.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told journalists on Monday that his country’s court rulings apply to everyone, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported.

“I am not in a position to intervene [in Mr. Brunson’s case] with the judiciary since Turkey is a constitutional state,” he said.

David Sands contributed to this report.

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