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Trump tweeted Thusday that the "United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey" for keeping Brunson in custody.

"He is suffering greatly".

Brunson's release had been widely expected earlier this month after Donald Trump praised Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on the sidelines of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, leading to speculation that the pastor might be released at a 18 July hearing.

President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to slap "large sanctions" on Turkey unless it freed an American pastor, prompting an angry response from Ankara and further escalating tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Perkins, who is also the president of the Family Research Council, said he does not think it a mere coincidence that Turkey made the announcement while the first-ever U.S. -led ministerial on advancing global religious liberty was taking place at the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC.

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Brunson - indicted in Turkey on terrorism charges - was moved to house arrest this week after spending about a year-and-a-half behind bars. He has denied the charges but faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

The U.S. pledged an additional $ 17 million for de-mining efforts in the Ninewa region of Iraq, which is on top of the $90 million Washington provided in 2017.U.S. officials say the funding will help clear mines from areas with large populations of religious minorities who were subject to what Pence called genocide at the hands of Islamic State militants.

Lawmakers have also called on Turkey to release Brunson, and the final version of Congress's fiscal 2019 defense bill included a provision demanding Turkey "to release wrongfully detained US citizens including Andrew Brunson and Serkan Golge", a scientist imprisoned in Turkey.

He was among 20 USA citizens arrested and charged after the failed coup. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the news of Branson's release on Twitter but called on Turkish authorities to drop the charges.

Now, President Trump is further increasing pressure on Turkey to release the Christian minister, who has been accused of espionage without any evidence, warning in a tweet of sanctions.

'I believe in and support Turkey's territorial integrity, ' he told the court.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously linked Brunson's return to the USA to the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen, the cleric Turkey's government holds responsible for the failed July 2016 military coup.

He was released on house arrest Wednesday and ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device.

US evangelicals have been an influential part of Trump's coalition of support, both in his campaign and in his administration, and have pushed the White House to act on the Brunson case.

Pompeo, hosting the three-day confab, was surprised to hear the tough talk, sources said. Gulen denies any involvement in the coup, in which at least 250 people were killed.

Last week, a bipartisan group of United States senators introduced a bill that would require Washington to reject worldwide loans to Turkey until Brunson and other Americans are freed or the harassment against them ends.

The fusillade followed a July 25 decision by a court in in the western province of Izmir to move Brunson into house arrest.


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