16:21 GMT +314 December 2018
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    President Donald Trump listens during a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

    Trump Urges Erdogan to Immediately Release Imprisoned American Pastor

    © AP Photo / Andrew Harnik
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    The White House said that Donald Trump asked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to immediately release imprisoned American Pastor Andrew Brunson.

    Turkish President Erdogan makes a speech during his meeting with mukhtars at the Presidential Palace in Ankara
    © REUTERS / asin Bulbul/Presidential Palace
    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President Donald Trump asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting on Tuesday to immediately release imprisoned American Pastor Andrew Brunson, the White House said in a press release.

    "President Donald J. Trump met today with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey," the release stated. "Trump raised the incarceration of Pastor Andrew Brunson and asked that the Turkish Government expeditiously return him to the United States."

    On Monday, the American Center for Law and Justice submitted a formal written statement to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of Brunson. The American pastor and his wife were detained in October on the Turkish coastal town of Izmir, where he has carried out his ministry for roughly 20 years, FOX News reported on Tuesday.

    On May 12, Erdogan said that during his meeting on Tuesday with Trump he would seek the extradition of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of masterminding the 2016 failed coup in Turkey.

    Ankara has repeatedly asked the United States to hand Gulen over to Turkey. In February, Trump assured Erdogan that he would take the issue of Gulen’s extradition seriously.


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