Brunson's detention had become a symbol of the problematic relationship between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Turkey and the USA, and news of his release into house arrest boosted the Turkish lira, which gained nearly one percent in value against the dollar.
At the end of a recent hearing, the court inside a prison complex in the town of Aliaga in western Turkey rejected Brunson's lawyer's request that he be freed pending the outcome of the trial. The Senate has also considered bipartisan legislation to restrict loans to Turkey until it releases over a dozen US citizens it now has in captivity, including Brunson.
"This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!" he said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hailed Brunson's release to house arrest, but said it was "not enough". He could receive another 20 years if he is found guilty of espionage. Sam Brownback, ambassador-at-large for worldwide religious freedom, referenced Brunson during his opening remarks on Tuesday. State-owned Anadolu news agency said the court decided, after re-evaluating the case, that he could leave prison on health grounds and because he would be under effective judicial control.
Brunson was first imprisoned on terrorism charges after an attempted coup in the summer of 2016 against President Recep Erdoğan.
"While he is out of jail he is still not free", Pence said, addressing a conference on religious freedom."And to President Erdogan and the Turkish government, I have a message on behalf of the president of the United States of America".
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Brunson's detention deepened a rift between Washington and Ankara, which are also at odds over the Syrian war and Turkey's plan to buy missile defenses from Russian Federation.
The Trump administration has repeatedly pressed the Turkish government to release Brunson, 50, a longtime resident of Turkey who was swept up in a campaign of mass arrests that followed a coup attempt against Erdogan in the summer of 2016. He was also charged with supporting outlawed PKK Kurdish militants. Shares in Halkbank, whose former deputy general manager was convicted in January of evading U.S. sanctions on Iran, jumped 12 percent.
Last September, Erdogan suggested that Turkey could free Brunson if Washington handed over Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania - an offer brushed off by Washington.
President Trump, in a tweet last week, called Turkey's prosecution of Brunson "a total disgrace".
U.S. senators have pushed to delay Turkey's acquisition of American-made F-35 fighter jets, citing Brunson's case and the Russian S-400 missile system Turkey has agreed to buy.
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