President Donald Trump said he did not make a deal to secure formerly detained Pastor Andrew Brunson’s release from the Turkish government, in brief comments to the White House press pool Friday afternoon.
“There was no deal at all. No deal,” Trump said, adding that Brunson will be hosted in the Oval Office on Saturday after landing at Andrews Air Force Base. A White House official told The Daily Caller Friday that Brunson had cleared Turkish airspace and would be making a brief stop in Germany before continuing on to the U.S.
Brunson was detained in alleged connection with an attempted coup against Erdogan in 2016. The U.S. government maintained consistently that Brunson was being unfairly treated and used as leverage in negotiations with the U.S. government.
Turkey released Brunson Friday after a Judge removed all controls on his travel. He was previously placed in detention and house arrest for alleged espionage charges. Turkey’s detention of Brunson significantly escalated tensions between the U.S. and Turkey even sparking the imposition of sanctions on the country. The situation is particularly unusual because both countries are NATO allies.