Turkish judiciary shows its independence with Brunson ruling, Turkish official says

U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, accompanied by Turkish security officers, arrives at Aliaga Prison and Courthouse complex in a vehicle in Izmir, Turkey October 12, 2018. Taylan Yildirim, Demiroren News Agency, DHA via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - The Turkish court ruling that released a U.S. pastor on Friday was proof of the independence of the Turkish judiciary, an official for Turkey’s presidency said.

“It is with great regret that we have been monitoring U.S. efforts to mount pressure on Turkey’s independent court system for some time,” Fahrettin Altun, the presidency’s communications director, said.

“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,” Altun said in a statement.

The court sentenced Andrew Brunson to three years and 1-1/2 months in prison on terrorism charges, but said he would not serve any further jail time. The pastor, who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, was put in prison two years ago and has been under house arrest since July.

Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz, Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen and Sarah Dadouch, Editing by David Dolan