By Meryem Goktas
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has shown its a democratic state with an impartial and independent judiciary, the presidential communication director said, following Friday's ruling on U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson's release.
A Turkish court sentenced the pastor to three years and 45 days in prison, but he will not serve the time in jail. The court credited his time spent in detention, and ended his house arrest and travel ban.
"Today’s court ruling on Andrew Brunson reaffirmed that Turkey is a democratic country with the rule of law, and established the independence and impartiality of the Turkish judiciary," Fahrettin Altun said in a statement.
"Like the Turkish courts, the Republic of Turkey does not receive instructions from any body, authority, office or person. We make our own rules and make our own decisions that reflect our will," he added.
Altun said that Turkey monitored U.S. efforts to "mount pressure on Turkey’s independent court system for some time", stating that Turkey "has been subject to various threats of sanctions".
Reaffirming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's stance against the threats, Altun said that Erdogan "urged all parties to respect the court’s final decision".
The pastor was arrested on Dec. 9, 2016 on charges of being member of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). On July 25, citing Brunson's health problems, an Izmir court ordered him moved from jail to house arrest.
Brunson's charges include spying for the PKK — listed as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey — and FETO, the group behind the defeated coup attempt in Turkey of July 2016.
Turkey and the U.S. have faced rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions over Brunson's detention.
Political tensions between the two countries sparked worries in the markets after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to use economic pressure to secure Brunson's release.