American pastor Andrew Brunson is finally free to come home from Turkey

Pastor Andrew Brunson is freed from house arrest in Turkey
(Image credit: Bulent Kilic/Getty Images)

American pastor Andrew Brunson was released by a Turkish court Friday and permitted to fly home to the United States, where he will meet with President Trump Saturday.

The president celebrated Brunson's freedom before his Ohio rally Friday night, saying the pastor had "suffered greatly" but is in "good shape." "He'll be stopping most likely in Germany for a full check-up, and then he's going to be coming to the Oval Office, most likely on Saturday," Trump said. "But we're very honored to have him back with us."

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Brunson, who was convicted on terror charges for supposedly supporting forces seeking to overthrow the Turkish government, was held in a Turkish prison for nearly two years before being transferred to house arrest in July; his wife, Norine, was also jailed for 13 days. The family has consistently denied all charges.

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"I love Jesus. I love Turkey," Brunson said at court before his release. "This is the day our family has been praying for," he added in a statement after. "I am delighted to be on my way home to the United States."

Update 10:28 a.m.: President Trump posted a pair of tweets on Brunson's release Saturday morning, the second strenuously denying he had negotiated its accomplishment. "There was NO DEAL made with Turkey for the release," Trump wrote. "I don't make deals for hostages."

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.