No influence on court ruling of US pastor’s release: Justice Minister Gül

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A Turkish court which ruled for the release of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson was not influenced, Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül has said.

“The Turkish judiciary did not make its decision under any influence or order,” Gül told state-run Anadolu Agency on Oct. 18.

He said some statements from the U.S. were “unacceptable,” noting that the pastor’s judicial control and travel ban orders were lifted in accordance with the verdict.

Brunson, an evangelical pastor, was arrested in December 2016 and was accused by a court in the Aegean province of İzmir of being a member of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the group believed to have been behind a defeated coup earlier that year.

Brunson was accused of terror-related charges and espionage, facing up to 35 years in prison. The İzmir court on Oct. 12 sentenced him to more than three years for aiding terrorist organizations, but allowed him to return to the U.S.

He met President Donald Trump upon his arrival in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Gül also said the case of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was being “thoroughly” investigated and the “results are expected to come out soon.”

The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office will reveal the truth behind the disappearance of the Washington Post columnist, the minister said, adding “whatever international law requires will be done.”

Gül also noted that the Saudi authorities delayed the search at the consulate, demanding a more detailed search request from Ankara.

The minister also said there were 1,161 ISIL members, nearly 32,000 FETÖ members and 10,000 PKK members jailed in Turkey.

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