President Donald Trump said on Saturday the release of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson after two years in Turkey’s custody was a “tremendous step” toward improved relations with Turkey, but he denied cutting a deal with Ankara.
“The only deal, if you could call it a deal, is a psychological one. We feel much differently about Turkey today than we did yesterday, and I think we have a chance of really becoming much closer to Turkey,” Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Brunson.
A Turkish court on Friday sentenced Brunson, who had been charged with links to Kurdish militants and supporters of a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, to more than three years in prison but said he would not serve any further time because he had already been detained since October 2016.
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