American Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, center, waves as he leaves a prison outside Izmir, Turkey, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Brunson who had been jailed in Turkey for more than 1 ½ years on terror and espionage charges was released Wednesday and will be put under house arrest as his trial continues. Pastor Brunson was let out of jail to serve home detention because of “health problems,” Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency said.(DHA via AP)

 

When Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a close call of the worst kind with an abortive military coup in 2016, he blamed an exiled Turkish Muslim preacher, Fethullah Gülen, and demanded his extradition from the US to Turkey. When the US refused, Erdogan did what Turks have done from time immemorial: he seized a hostage. In this case, it was an American pastor named Andrew Brunson who was selected to be the bargaining chip. Preacher for preacher. The Turks accused Brunson of all manner of nebulous bullsh** and tossed him in prison. President Trump was prevailed upon to plead Brunson’s case when he met with Erdogan during the NATO summit and thought he’d struck a deal. A Turkish national imprisoned in Israel would be sent back to Turkey and Brunson would be released. Trump carried through his end of the bargain. Erdogan reneged. Trump was not pleased and placed massive tariffs on some classes of Turkish goods. And the Turkish lira and stock market cratered. Here are my earlier stories on the happenings:

BREAKING. US Threatens Turkey With Economic Sanctions Over Imprisoned American Clergyman

Turkish Lira In A Tailspin After US Announces Unprecedented Sanctions Over Imprisoned American Pastor

Erdogan’s Turkey Continues Its Economic Death Spiral And President Trump Just Tossed Him An Anvil

Now it is breaking that Turkey and the US have reached a deal that will free Brunson.

This is great news and long past due. Like him or not, Trump showed Turkey he was willing to knock its economy in the dirt, NATO ally or not, because of this extralegal kidnapping of an American citizen. And Erdogan blinked.

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