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The United States said Friday it is lifting sanctions on two Turkish officials targeted in response to the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was freed last month.
The Trump administration had sanctioned Turkey's justice minister, Abdulhamit Gul, and interior minster, Suleyman Soylu, for their role in the detention of Brunson. The Treasury Department announced they are no longer on its sanctions list.
Brunson was released by the Turkish government on Oct. 12 after spending roughly two years in custody on terror and espionage charges for allegedly aiding people involved in a failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The pastor denied the charges and President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE and his team had repeatedly demanded Brunson's release. A Turkish judge in October sentenced Brunson to three years in prison, but released him on time served and allowed him to leave the country.
Brunson's arrest inflamed tensions between the U.S. and Turkey and Trump hailed his release as a major victory for his administration.
Trump denied, however, that he made a deal with Turkey to lift sanctions in exchange for freeing Brunson.
"We had no deal with Turkey," Trump told reporters on Oct. 15. "We don’t make any deals for hostages or prisoners. But I will tell you that I feel much differently about Turkey today than I felt about them two days ago. I have a very good feeling toward Turkey."