A plane carrying the US pastor at the center of a row between Ankara and Washington, took off from an airport in Turkey’s western Izmir province late on Friday, October 12, a witness said, hours after a court ruled he could go free.
The witness, a member of the EastWest Institute international NGO which was involved in talks about Andrew Brunson’s case, said a private jet had taken off from Izmir’s Adnan Menderes airport.
Brunson’s lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt later said Brunson would first stay in Germany for two days and later travel to the United States.
Andrew Brunson was released after the court sentenced him to three years and 1-1/2 months in prison on terrorism charges, but said he would not serve any further jail time.
Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, was jailed two years ago and had been under house arrest since July.
His case has heightened tension between the NATO allies Turkey and United States, helping to send the Turkish currency down 40 percent this year.